This easy-to-follow yet comprehensive book provides everything an educator working in a school or museum, in person or online, needs to develop experiences that encourage close looking, spark the imagination, and support the development of critical thinking skills.
Sharon Vatsky looks at the entire tour experience including planning, facilitation, and reflection. By providing a flexible tour-planning template – jointly developed by the education departments of the Guggenheim Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art, this book clearly articulates strategies and advice for the educator who wants to facilitate inquiries that encourage participants to think together and think deeply.
To demonstrate the flexibility and adaptability of the tour planning template, museum educators with deep experience specializing in working with diverse audiences share how they adjust the tour planning template to accommodate the attributes and strengths of the visitors they work with most closely. These accommodations to the template include ways to support family learning, school tours, virtual tours, promote social and emotional learning, work effectively with students with autism, adults with low vision and blindness and adults with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. These contributions are included to demonstrate that the tour planning template can be adjusted to support the varied abilities and learning styles of multiple audiences.
A lifelong educator, Sharon Vatsky’s experience includes a decade as Curator of Education at the Queens Museum and more than twenty years at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, most recently as Director of Visitor Engagement. She has conducted workshops for teachers, and museum educators in the U.S. and internationally and taught graduate level courses in Museum Education at the City University of New York, Teachers College, Columbia University and New York University’s Graduate Program in Museum Studies as well as undergraduate courses in drawing, painting, design and art history and arts education. Her first book, Museum Gallery Activities: A Handbook was published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2018.
List of Illustrations
Part I: The Big Picture
Chapter 1: Why Museum Tours Still Matter
Chapter 2: An Introduction to Thematic Tours
Part II: Planning
Chapter 3: The Tour Planning Template
Chapter 4: Choosing a Theme
Chapter 5: Object Selection and Sequencing
Chapter 6: Writing and Sequencing Open-Ended Questions
Chapter 7: The Role of Information
Chapter 8: Multi-Modal Activities
Chapter 9: Advance Organizers, Transitions, Reflections
Chapter 10: Getting Ready
Part III: Facilitation
Chapter 11: Greeting and Orientation
Chapter 12: Supporting Participation
Chapter 13: Reflection and Evaluation
Part IV: Adapting the Tour Planning Template for Diverse Audiences
Chapter 14: Audience at the Center
Chapter 15: Adapting the Tour Planning Template for Youth Queena Ko
Chapter 16: Adapting the Tour Planning Template for Students on the Autism Spectrum Melanie Adsit and Jackie Delamatre
Chapter 17: Adapting the Tour Planning Template for Social and Emotional Learning Lisa Mazzola
Chapter 18: Adapting the Tour Planning Template for Family Tours Emily Rivlin-Nadler
Chapter 19: Adapting the Tour Planning Template for Virtual Tours for Adults
Chapter 20: Adapting the Tour Planning Template for Adults with Visual Impairments and Blindness Karen Bergman
Chapter 21: Adapting the Tour Planning Template for Adults with Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementias Francesca Rosenberg
Appendix 1: Questionnaire on Gallery and Virtual Museum Teaching
Appendix 2: Tour Planning Checklist
Appendix 3: Tour Planning Template
About the Contributors
About the Author
Sharon Vatsky and her collaborators for this vital book share insights about planning effective and meaningful museum tours, plus strategies to bring joy, humor, and lightness into the process. First-hand accounts for troubleshooting content support the book's focus on creative development. The inclusion of easy-to-use templates plus considerations for accessible practices in museum galleries and beyond positions this book as a critical resource for museum educators. This is an essential read for anyone seeking long-lasting and impactful conversations in front of art.
For any museum educator invested in the practice of differentiated teaching, Vatsky’s book provides a clear and practical instructional design model for how to do this within the enduring format of the museum tour with reflections from some of the most experienced practitioners in the country.
This book makes the process of using the museum as a classroom accessible to anyone and everyone. It brings big ideas to a practical level to open up new experiences for all students.
This thoughtful book brings into the conversation why thinking about and with cultural objects matters so much in the lives of us all by linking histories past, present and to come in all their variability, diversity and sometimes, messiness. Urging us to think beyond the experience of the single museum visitor Sharon Vatsky, longtime educator at the Guggenheim Museum, places the interactive tour at the heart of contemporary museum thinking promoting dialogical interchanges, juxtapositions and multi-model activities that open minds to new and deeper meanings. At its center the interactive tour has the capacity to nurture personal appraisals as these are energized within the larger diversity of social and cultural opinion and exchange. To accomplish this vision, Vatsky offers a refreshingly open-ended and easy to adapt tour planning template and, along with some elegant examples, shows how with imagination and sensitivity to participant needs it can be adapted in support of a wide diversity of audiences including children, adults and special populations. This is a lovely book whose author cares deeply about how educators make new knowledge exiting and how museum audiences learn to make and own their cultural histories.