Date of Award

8-31-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)

Department

Liberal Studies

First Reader

Alison Barnes

Second Reader

Lois Hetland

Abstract

Campus museums are uniquely positioned to enhance student learning and support faculty in achieving course objectives. By tapping the potential of objects, exhibition themes, and the gallery environment, museum professionals can empower faculty and students to make meaningful and relevant connections to curriculum content. Inspired by the successes in such endeavors of revered teaching museums at elite liberal arts colleges, but frustrated by the challenges of transferring model practices to the context of an art college, I set out to investigate what was possible at my own place of employment, the nation's only publicly funded art college, Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Applying to the gallery context several theoretical frameworks that detail how art students engage in thinking and learning, I was able to investigate the potentially rich relationship between art exhibitions and studio and scholarly classes and begin to uncover and describe ways of cultivating supportive relationships with faculty and students at an art college.

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