PMA Education Programs
Visitors to the Portland Museum of Art, children and adults alike, can choose from a wide variety of fun and educational offerings—from frequently scheduled gallery talks to musical performances.
Special Partnerships with Maine Schools
Looking to Learn (Grades 3, 4, 5): The award-winning Looking to Learn curriculum handbook integrates works from the Museum's American art collection with science, language arts, social studies, and visual arts activities. In addition to the handbook, Looking to Learn includes information about artists, a glossary of terms, and a set of posters. Each of the 40 lessons is aligned with the Maine Learning Results and the Guiding Principles. In 2003 Looking to Learn was given the Award for Excellence in Educator Resources by the Education Committee of the American Association of Museums.
ACCESS (Grades 6, 7, 8)
ACCESS uses the Museum's historic McLellan House and 19th-century American art collection to guide students in exploring the question, "How do art and architecture reflect the time and place in which they are created?" ACCESS is a curriculum handbook of 23 lesson plans aligned with the Maine Learning Results and a CD-ROM of images to maximize students' laptop technology. Written in partnership with Maine teachers, the lessons connect the Museum's collection to your middle-school social studies, language arts, and visual arts curricula.
AccessOnline (Grades 6, 7, 8)
Explore the art and architecture of the Portland Museum of Art in a series of dynamic interactive programs! These activities bring the people, events, and culture of 1800s America to life through paintings, sculpture, and architecture. Tour a two hundred-year-old house, meet ordinary and famous people from the 1800s, discover the American landscape, and experience much more. Visit AccessOnline.
Look at ME (grades K, 1, 2)
The Look at ME curriculum brings together works of art from the Museum's collections and children's books to teach visual and verbal literacy. Look at ME, which is aligned with the Maine Learning Results, will be available in February 2006.
Evenings for Educators
Five times during the year, the Museum invites teachers from across the state to workshops featuring innovative techniques to incorporate the Museum's exhibitions and collections into their classroom curricula. Teachers tour a featured exhibition with the Museum's professional staff and then engage in creative exercises to apply a collaborative approach to understanding the art. More than 500 teachers per year from every subject area and grade level participate in the sessions throughout the year, allowing for dynamic, interdisciplinary perspectives on the exhibitions.
Kits containing slides, posters, art historical information, suggested lesson plans, and biographies of artists are provided to teachers for each major Museum exhibition and special areas of the permanent collection, including Landscape, Sculpture, Maine Artists, Portraits, and Impressionism. More than 100 schools each year utilize Classroom Kits to bring the resources of the Museum into the schools.
Museum Tours and Docent Program
The Museum is one of the largest tour destinations in the state, serving more than 13,000 school children each year, and an additional 10,000 visitors through daily group tours. Students travel from hundreds of communities across Maine for tours --from nearby Portland neighborhoods, distant towns near Baxter State Park, and the Carrabasset Valley on the Canadian border. Public, private, parochial, special-needs, and home school programs all take part in tours of the exhibitions tailored to a group's specific interests and level of understanding. The school and daily group tours are provided by the Museum's more than 100 volunteer docents, who attend an intensive 19-week training program to introduce them to art history, the Museum's collections, and gallery teaching techniques. Monthly docent training sessions are held to focus on temporary Museum exhibitions
You Artists' Studio
In collaboration with local organizations including the YMCA and PROP, the Museum reaches out to some of Portland's most disadvantaged and at-risk children. The Museum is the site of multi-visit art-making sessions that work within the structure of existing after-school programs, making the Museum and its resources more accessible to children. Each session begins with a gallery visit, followed by art making in the Community Studio. Participating children are given studio space in the Museum to decorate and make their own. Led by the Museum's Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs, this program fosters creativity and self-esteem and forges closer ties between the Museum and this frequently under served population through a lasting network of partnerships. At the close of the six-to-eight week sessions, the children's artwork is exhibited in the Museum with an opening celebration to bring parents and families into the Museum.
Field Trip Artivities
Building on the Museum's successful relationship with local youth agencies, Field Trip Artivities extend traditional school tours with a post-tour artmaking program. The immediate relationship between the gallery and the studio allows children to express their responses to the exhibitions while the inspiration is still recent and clear. This program is utilized by groups that are unable to commit to repeat visitation over several weeks, such as schools in remote locations and a school for severely emotionally troubled teens.
Looking at art together can be a great way to connect as a family. The Museum's programs for families are engaging and educational, and they're designed for the young and not-so-young alike. Regularly scheduled Family Festivals offer quick activities for visitors of all ages. School vacation weeks are programmed with activities and gallery games that let families learn together and see our exhibitions and collections in new ways, and our Tuesday morning Art Squad Jr. lets parents and our youngest visitors see the Museum together before making their own masterwork in our community studio.
The Museum's home base for innovative community collaborations and art making classes for people of all ages, the Community Studio hosts one-day workshops, drop-in hours, and multi-week courses for children and adults in a well-equipped, vibrant setting designed to nurture creativity. The Community Studio is also home to after-school programs for some of Portland's most underserved youth and activities for marginalized, at-risk youth audiences. All activities in the Community Studio are conceived and implemented by the Museum's Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs, a working and exhibiting artist and teacher.
Every summer the Museum offers art camp for more than 300 children ages six through 15. Grouped by age, consecutive classes of 20 children each run for five week-long sessions in the summer. (An abridged, drop-in version of Artrek called Boredom Busters is also held during school vacation weeks in February and April.) Extremely popular and always filled to capacity, Artrek brings children to the Museum to view works in the galleries and to make art with local and visiting artists and teachers based on what they see and learn in the galleries. Their work is then displayed in the Museum in a mini-exhibition for their friends and families to view. This program is an inexpensive alternative for parents who must rely on daycare.
Museum-trained docents bring specially designed resource materials into Senior Centers, Retirement Communities, and Residential Treatment Facilities for a day of learning about art. Art-to-Go is designed to serve audiences that are unable to visit the Museum but are interested in learning about art and utilizing the Museum's resources. Each presentation nurtures lifelong learning and covers topics featuring works from the Museum's collection and special exhibitions.
Lectures and Gallery Talks
The Museum's curators, recognized scholars, and technical experts meet with a variety of audiences, providing insight into the creative process and historical context of exhibitions. Artists frequently visit the Museum for "meet-the-artist" programs to discuss their work in the galleries. Always popular is the annual Bernard A. Osher Lecture Series, which has drawn attendance of more than 900 people. Artists such as William Wegman, Laurel Ulrich, Alan Magee, Brett Bigbee, Alex Katz, Neil Welliver, Dale Chihuly, Sandy Skoglund, and Mary Ellen Mark have all addressed large crowds at the Museum in recent years. The Nelson Social Justice Fund brings artists and academics with a particular focus on art and issues of social justice to speak to Museum audiences. In 2000, as its inaugural event, the Nelson Social Justice Fund hosted artist Fred Wilson, who spoke to a standing-room-only crowd.