Albany Museum of Art offers free school field trips

·4 min read

Feb. 8—ALBANY — The Albany Museum of Art is offering schools free field trips to the museum, where students will receive guided tours of AMA galleries and engage in related art projects that focus on the STEAM education curriculum.

"Removing obstacles to access is a tenet of the Albany Museum of Art," AMA Executive Director Andrew J. Wulf said. "While the nominal fees that we have charged for field trips helped us cover the cost of personnel and materials, we understand that schools' budgets are strained. We at the AMA want to go the extra mile to ensure that students in Albany and southwest Georgia have full access to art from all over the world that inspires, fuels creativity and builds community."

AMA Director of Education and Public Programming Annie Vanoteghem said that school officials can go to the museum website page www.albanymuseum.com/teachers-and-students to get information on field trips and to schedule a visit. The free field trips also are available to organizations that serve students, such as Scouting groups, churches, Boys & Girls Clubs and 4-H Clubs.

School tours, which follow the September-May academic year, are available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Start times for tours are as early as 9:45 a.m. and as late as 2 p.m., and up to 50 students may be accommodated.

"Students enjoy the tours and the hands-on art experiences, and that enjoyment makes learning easier and improves retention," Vanoteghem said. "I am pleased that we are able to offer these to schools at no cost to them. As school budgets tighten, the arts often are among the first casualties to spending cuts. Studies, however, show that students who are exposed to and involved in the arts develop stronger critical thinking skills and perform better academically.

"Our school programs at the Albany Museum of Art promote literacy and evidential reasoning, content knowledge and critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. Our projects are designed to meet aspects of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) education curricula. Plus, you never know when a student will be inspired by an art object, exhibition or artist to take an unexpected and rewarding career trajectory."

The students will be able to engage in team-building activities in the museum's AMAzing Space area, which was completely renovated in 2020, she said.

The AMA also is reaching out to students who, because of ongoing pandemic concerns, have not returned to traditional classroom settings.

"We have adjusted our offerings to fit the needs of the community so that all can benefit from our exhibitions in a safe and fun way," Vanoteghem said. "We are offering virtual field trips for schools that are not gathering."

The artworks at the AMA can be incorporated into other academic disciplines, she noted.

English teachers, for example, bring their students to practice Ekphratic writing (writing in response to works of art) in the galleries, co-lead a writing workshop and host a reading at the end.

History teachers will find American historical sources on the museum walls. Vanoteghem said the AMA can provide them with an American history gallery talk or a writing assignment for their students.

Math teachers might be interested to know that the Golden Ratio has long been used in the visual arts because it is aesthetically pleasing, and that artists often lay out their works based on a series of 45-degree angles. Art shows students how math is used in a realistic application.

Science teachers can use sculptures to explain physics, photography exhibits to talk about chemical reactions, and paintings to discuss the natural world.

Foreign language teachers' students can discuss works of art in a second language. Vanoteghem said she can work with teachers to find references to their country of focus in the AMA collection.

"So many doors can be opened by a visit to the Albany Museum of Art," Vanoteghem said. "We hope that schools in our area will take advantage of these wonderful opportunities to enhance their students' educational experience."

School officials with questions about AMA tours may contact Vanoteghem at (229) 439-8400 or email her at annie.vanoteghem@albanymuseum.com.

Located at 311 Meadowlark Drive adjacent to the Albany State University West Campus, the AMA is open to the public 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Admission is free for everyone.

For more information about the AMA, visit the www.albanymuseum.com website or follow the @AlbanyArtMuseum on Twitter, AlbanyMuseum on Instagram and AlbanyMuseumOfArt on Facebook.