April 11-14, 2007
San Francisco, California

Demonstrations: Description

Striking Gold: Mining the Resources of the Crocker Art Museum

Caren Gutierrez, Crocker Art Museum, USA

The Crocker Art Museum, the oldest art museum west of the Mississippi, is in the process of digitizing the records of the 10,000 objects in its collection and making high-quality digital photographs of selected works of art available to the public over the Internet. This project has created the opportunity for the Crocker Art Museum Association to develop Striking Gold, Mining the Resources of the Crocker Art Museum, an innovative interactive art-education curriculum that addresses the lack of art instruction in many California schools. Accessed over the Internet, Striking Gold enables teachers and students to study works of art in the Museum's collection and use them for interactive learning in history/social science, visual arts and language arts.

The goal of Striking Gold is to provide educators and students with access to art resources that enable them to heighten their knowledge, appreciation, and understanding of history/social sciences, and the visual arts. Through the use of innovative technology, Striking Gold presents students with opportunities to view diverse art images through an interactive multimedia program. The program also gives teachers access to curriculum materials that support instruction in the visual arts, history/social sciences, and language arts.

To develop Striking Gold, a project team of museum educators and history and visual-arts content specialists collaborated with graphic designers and web designers to create a content-rich, fully illustrated website with grade-level-specific lesson plans. In order to facilitate teachers' ability to use Striking Gold as an effective learning tool in the classroom, the Museum produced an online and printed teacher manual and conducted professional-development workshops in the Sacramento region to introduce the program.

Striking Gold's lesson activities increase students' abilities to investigate the aesthetic and historical significance of primary sources from the Crocker's collection, including early photography, nineteenth-century genre paintings, and contemporary art in diverse media. These lessons encourage students to develop their critical-thinking skills by grounding their interpretations and reflections in the physical evidence present in the artworks. Students and teachers have access to the Museum's collections database so that they can research other relevant works to enhance teaching history and the visual arts.

Research has shown that when art education is integrated into the K–12 school curriculum, the result significantly impacts a school's community and culture. Positive academic developments for children engaged in the arts are verifiable and have been shown to be consistent for children from all socioeconomic backgrounds. The Crocker Art Museum is committed to helping educators integrate the arts into their curriculum with its web-based resource, Striking Gold.

Demonstration: Demonstrations - 2 [Close-Up]

Keywords: art, history, education, interactive, lesson plans, standards