Week 9: Baltimore Museum of Art

Museum Mission: The Baltimore Museum of Art seeks innovation and excellence in an artistic program that focuses on art of the modern era, from the 19th century to the present. The Museum is committed to creating an environment that inspires creativity, encourages learning, and fosters human understanding in a place where everyone feels welcome.

I must admit, the Baltimore Museum of Art overwhelmed me at first. Even though some sections were closed for renovation and one gallery was only open to members for a special preview event, there was still an abundance of things to see.

But the museum works to make art accessible, and the efforts designed for younger visitors can also be helpful for adults who need a starting point for experiencing the art. I picked up two take-aways produced for families. One, “A Grand Legacy Family Guide,” offers viewing strategies and open-ended questions for four specific works in the museum. Each of the four brochures encourages families to look at specific parts of the work, thus breaking down what might be hard to make sense of as a whole.

The other take-away is a tiny brochure providing ideas for looking at any work of art with youngsters. This brochure suggests, “Limit your visit….An hour – or even half an hour – may be enough time.” It then reminds the reader, “you can always come back – admission to the collection is FREE for all.” This suggestion testifies not only to an understanding of museum fatigue on BMA’s part, but also to the museum’s desire to be a part of the local community, to serve an audience that can come back again and again.

In the brochure are recommendations for simple ways to involve little ones in looking at art, like making up a story about what’s going on in a painting, or searching for different colors or “an array of animals.”

Since no Weekly Museum Visit writeup would be complete without photos, here is my array of animals:

Turtle (and human); Oceanic, Solomon Islands, Shortland Island; early 20th century, Baltimore Museum of Art

Dog; Pre-Columbian, Mexico, Colima; 2nd-3rd century; Baltimore Museum of Art

Camel; China; early 8th century; Baltimore Museum of Art

Hare; Large Boxing Hare on Anvil by Welsh artist Barry Flanagan; 1984; Baltimore Museum of Art

Cat; Motherhood by French artist Marguerite Gerard; c. 1795-1800; Baltimore Museum of Art

I love the wall text for this last one; it might as well read, “In contrast, a cat acts like a cat.”

Wall text for Motherhood by Marguerite Gerard

About Laura

Paralegal with Master of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education, frequent museum visitor, based in Washington, DC. I care about what museums can do, both in terms of public offerings and internal practices, to make the world a better place. I blog about museum education ("informed"), the social work of museums ("humane"), and visitor experience ("citizenry").
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