While fall 2020 was filled with uncertainty, frustration, fluidity, flexibility and resilience, the Museum Experiences Team welcomed an amazing group of new student interns and graduate assistants and volunteers. Together they adjusted to navigate a semester unlike any we have experienced before. Here are a few highlights:

KMA Virtual Portal & Staff Changes

As we opened the semester, KMA’s new virtual portal had just launched after much hard work over the summer and our small staff was in “readjustment mode.” Lisa Quinn assumed her new role as Registrar and Basil Masri Zada moved into the role of Consultant.

Virtual Portal banner

Zoom and Teams Grid

Can we even remember a time that our meetings were around a table? So many things became routine as we figured out our technological challenges. We tried to harness the power of operating this way without allowing the ensuing fatigue of this method of human interaction to engulf us.

New Social Media Campaign

Our new team quickly ascertained the importance of social media in the life of a museum with closed physical doors and began proposing ideas for fresh starts. They introduced themselves to a younger audience with a new Instagram Story Takeover (led by Kelly Hanning, Graduate Assistant) and Facebook Group for Kennedy Museum of Art Experiences. Madeline Kramer (Outreach Programs Assistant) took over the management of the Museum Experiences Blog and the team took turns adding their voices to the Blog. Tristen Luken (Academic Programs Assistant) reached out to alumni with a new interview section called Spotlight.

Virtual Family Art & Science Encounters

The first big challenge of the semester was to convert a community in-person drop-in open studio program to a viable virtual presence. While the pros and cons of synchronous vs. asynchronous delivery were being debated across the museum and education fields in general, we opted for creating instructional videos that could be accessed by anyone at any time as the first iteration of this program in these times. Marissa Stewart (Graduate Assistant) took the lead in managing the transition of this program to virtual modes.

We began collaborating across disciplines with the Ohio Museum Complex and posted the first activity guides to reflect this: Vegetal Dyes (summer 2020) and Fun with Leaves (fall 2020). The “Encounters” programs have always been inspired by objects in our collections or in our exhibitions. The virtual activities have kept that tradition.

Vegetal Dyes: Inspired by the natural dyes in the KMA Southwest Native American weaving collection, the Through the Appalachian Forest exhibition, and the OMC outdoor museum.*

Fun with Leaves: Inspired by the OMC outdoor museum and mAppAthens.**

Cyanotypes: Inspired by the KMA High School Photography exhibitions and the OMC Floyd Bartley Herbarium collection. Instructor: Marissa Stewart, Graduate Assistant.

Weaving with Recycled Materials: Inspired by the KMA Southwest Native American collection. Instructor: Kelly Hanning, Graduate Assistant.

Weaving a Basket with Recycled Materials: Inspired by the KMA African collection. Instructor: Amina Kassim, Graduate Volunteer.

Holiday Card Printing: Inspired by the KMA printmaking collection. Instructors: Tristen Luken and Carrie Summerford, PACE interns.

* Activity guide by Rachel Broughton and Sarah Melaragno (KMA PACE interns 2019-2020)
** Activity guide by Leah Myerholtz/OMC and Carrie Summerford/KMA (PACE interns 2020-2021)

We would like to thank Kiana Ziegler and Amina Kassim (Graduate Volunteers) for their assistance with video editing and project instruction, and Basil Masri Zada for his guidance and leadership with converting this program to a virtual presence.

Virtual Museum Visits for First-Year HTC Students and OHIO classes.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams grids quickly became our new normal not only for meetings but for museum visits as well. In the first week of classes we converted to virtual mode what had, in the past, been a physical visit with 80 new students on campus. Throughout the semester we met with OHIO faculty and instructors to determine how best to facilitate a museum experience with their classes.

As is our usual practice, our new education team members participated first by observing and then learned by doing. We restructured all gallery programs to a virtual format, conducting student-centered learning opportunities for the OHIO community, including classes from the colleges of Fine Arts, Education, Honors Tutorial, Health Sciences & Professions, and Medicine.

Athens High School

Tristen Luken and Madeline Kramer organized virtual meetings with over 200 Athens High School art students. Check out Madeline’s December 3 posting in the HOME section.

Sally Delgado

VTS Workshops with OBP, OHIO Staff & Faculty, and Creative Expressions

Lisa Quinn attended the advanced practicum for Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) in October with participants from around the globe (one of those actual advantages of being in virtual mode!). As our resident VTS facilitator she has transitioned KMA workshops to virtual mode and we have continued to collaborate with the Open Book Project (Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine) and worked with colleagues across campus, including the College of Health & Science Professions, the College of Communications, the College of Fine arts and Ohio University Libraries. We also had the pleasure of conducting a workshop with the student organization Creative Expressions.

Lisa Quinn

Tour of The Ridges in Spanish will be offered to Spring semester classes

Sarah Weekman (Educational Programs Assistant) and Carrie Summerford (Spanish Language Programs Assistant) developed a virtual tour for students in Spanish classes to practice their listening and speaking skills while learning about the history of The Ridges.  They will host synchronous virtual tours this Spring.

We were featured in The Post twice this semester!

See stories by student journalists Lily Roby and Gabriella Hayes

Kennedy Museum of Art develops virtual portal

Kennedy Museum of Art continues to bring people together virtually

Stay Tuned: Roundtable Discussions and more….

We were excited to add two more graduate students from the School of Art + Design to our team this semester and we look forward to creating new virtual experiences for Spring. Kiana Ziegler and Amina Kassim will continue working with the Virtual Art & Science Encounters program. Kelly Hanning and Carrie Summerford have a new studio activity to share in January and Marissa Stewart will be facilitating a Roundtable Discussion program this semester. Sarah Weekman is working on ideas related to visual art and wellbeing while Madeline Kramer and Tristen Luken are engaging in curating “mini-exhibits” from the collections.