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How Do Visits to Art Museums Impact K-12 Students?

Art Museums Across the Country Identified for Vital Study

Six art museums across the country have been selected to participate in a much-needed study of how a single visit to an art museum might impact K-12 students.

The study will be conducted jointly by the National Art Education Association (NAEA) and the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), along with professional research firm Randi Korn & Associates (RK&A), under a National Leadership Grant awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences with additional support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

The six selected museums are:

Six museums across the country will host the site visits:

  • Norman Rockwell Museum – Stockbridge, MA
  • Walters Art Museum – Baltimore, MD
  • Orlando Museum of Art – Orlando, FL
  • Columbus Museum of Art – Columbus, OH
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston – Houston, TX
  • Hammer Museum – Los Angeles, CA

These museums were selected based on data from the field-wide survey that was conducted among art museums in 2015 by RK&A with assistance from AAMD and NAEA. Criteria were used to select the final sample (see http://bit.ly/1Tt00kh for detailed information).

The research will explore how single-visits affect students’ skills and capacities across five interrelated areas: critical thinking, creative thinking, affective/sensorial response, human connections/empathy, and academic development. These five areas were selected based on previous research, input from museum educators, advisors, and theoretical writings.

The study will include a control group and two treatment groups. One treatment group will have an in-museum experience and the other treatment group will have an in-classroom experience. The control group will not have experienced a single-visit to an art museum or an in-classroom art lesson. Then, the students in three groups will be analyzed to determine whether there are experiential differences among them.

Preparations will take place during the remainder of 2016 and the research will be administered and analyzed January – April 2017.

“We know that art education matters,” said Deborah Reeve, Executive Director of the National Art Education Association. “What we don’t know, and haven’t yet measured scientifically on this scale, is how even one visit to an art museum can change the ways that a student creates and achieves artistically and academically.”

“We look forward to the results of this study,“ said Christine Anagnos, Executive Director of the Association of Art Museum Directors.  "We hope it is the first of a series of rigorous investigations into art museums’ education programs.”

About the NAEA
The National Art Education Association (NAEA), founded in 1947, is the leading professional organization for art educators serving 20,000 active members at pre-kindergarten through grade 12 levels as well as college and university professors and researchers, administrators, and museum educators. Other members include parents, students, retired educators, arts councils, schools and others concerned about the critical role of the arts in teaching and learning. Members are located throughout the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, U.S. Possessions, most Canadian Provinces, U.S. military bases around the world, and 25 foreign countries. NAEA is a 501©(3) nonprofit organization that operates through a network of affiliated organizations.

About the AAMD
Celebrating its centennial year in 2016, the Association of Art Museum Directors supports its members in increasing the contribution of art museums to society. The AAMD accomplishes this mission by establishing and maintaining the highest standards of professional practice, serving as forum for the exchange of information and ideas, acting as an advocate for its member art museums, and being a leader in shaping public discourse about the arts community and the role of art in society.

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