As an art museum educator, I worked hard at creating educational resources for a variety of audiences. There is a wealth of completely free resources on the internet for you to use in your classroom. You’ve just got to know where to look!
1. Dallas Museum of Art — http://www.dma.org/ and http://www.dmaconnect.org/
I’m not highlighting this one just because it’s one of my local museums. This museum has a dedicated and extremely innovative education staff–many of which I have been honored to meet throughout my career. The site you want to visit is their teaching resources site, http://www.dmaconnect.org/. They have a wealth of resources from games and interactives, lesson plans, multimedia, and discussion questions just like in my Collections and Art Around the World series. These resources are organized by theme, and they also have resources for individual works of art in the non-western collections. Go visit them now! No, wait until you have read about the other four museums on my list. Then go! 🙂
2. Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker Art Center — https://new.artsmia.org/
This website is fantastic. They have “over 100,000 resources…including works of art, texts, audio, video, and interactive resources” (source). You can create an account and make your own lists, tag and comment on the work, and more. There is just so much! One area of the site I have used before with young kids is the artist’s toolkit at http://artsconnected.org/toolkit/. It’s a great interactive site for teaching the elements and principles of art. These are the basic building blocks of art like line, shape, color, texture, balance, etc.
3. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art — http://www.sfmoma.org/
It’s super hard to sum up all these museums have in a short paragraph. I’m starting to think I should have just done one museum per post here. I can’t choose a favorite resource to highlight here, but this teacher resources section of the site has a nice list. In general, the teacher section (usually within an education section) is where you want to look at a museum’s site for lessons and resources. On the SFMOMA site, they have artist-created lesson plans and great interactive sites around themes or artists. They also have this super cute site for students grades 2-5 called The Country Dog Gentlemen Travel to Extraordinary Worlds that has fun, animated stories and interactive activities related to the art.
4. National Gallery of Art — http://www.nga.gov/
“NGAkids Art Zone interactives offer an entertaining and informative introduction to art and art history. Featuring a variety of art-making tools that encourage exploration and creativity, these activities are suitable for all ages” (source). This website has at least 15 activities where your students can make art online all while learning art history. They even have FREE CDs of the activities (click here to learn more)! The NGAkids Art Zone is for the littles, but the learning resources page is for you. It has teaching packets, lesson plans, and videos you can use to plan your homeschool lessons!
5. Smithsonian Institution — http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/
“The Smithsonian” isn’t one museum. It’s like 20. Or more. I have no idea. Lots. The Smithsonian Students page includes resources from all of them, so it has a wealth of activities and lessons, not just for art. The “Everything Art” section of the page has virtual classrooms, games, art-making activities, and more. The Smithsonian site for teachers also has a bunch of art lesson plans you can adapt for your homeschool.
** I have no affiliation with any of these organizations. I am just an art museum lover!
This post was originally published on June 4, 2014.