Skidmore College will lead an innovative collaboration on teaching and learning with on-campus museums through a joint exhibition with Colgate University, Hamilton College, and the University at Albany made possible by a three-year, $222,500 grant from the Teagle Foundation.
Project director Mimi Hellman, associate professor and chair of Skidmore College’s Art History Department, will lead this initiative by guiding museum staff and faculty members across disciplines at each institution in the development of courses, assignments, and curriculum that consider how subject matter, medium, authorship, physical and institutional setting, display and labeling strategies, audience, and museum programming shape learning experiences.
Officials said the catalyst for the development of new pedagogical modalities will be This Place, an exhibition of more than 600 images by 12 internationally acclaimed photographers that explores the rifts and paradoxes of the highly contested spaces of Israel and the West Bank.
This Place will be on exhibit simultaneously during the spring 2018 semester at the museums at each of the four participating colleges. In addition to the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, the institutions are the Picker Art Gallery at Colgate University, the Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, and the University Art Museum at the University at Albany.
“Skidmore College and the Tang Teaching Museum have been national leaders in museum-based interdisciplinary undergraduate education,” Hellman said. “We now have the opportunity to do something that I don’t think has been done before: four institutions of varying types and experiences with museum practices will interrogate an art exhibition together and separately, break new ground in curriculum and course development, and discover new best practices that can be shared and replicated to enhance undergraduate education nationally and beyond.”
"The photographs that will be on view in This Place offer faculty and students from a wide variety of disciplines — including art, art history, environmental studies, history, politics, psychology, religion, and philosophy, for example — an opportunity to work together through the close study of objects," said Rachel Seligman, the assistant director for curatorial affairs at the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College. "All the museums in this unique partnership will be able to function as laboratory spaces for interactive, interdisciplinary learning, becoming ideal learning spaces to support the creativity and teaching practices that are relevant to today's students and the multidisciplinary learning goals of institutions."
The project continues Skidmore College and the Tang Teaching Museum's mission to be a leader among college museums around the country. The Tang, which opened in 2000, focuses on ideas and seeks to work with artists and collections in new and inventive ways.
The partnership will culminate in a national public symposium in which the four participating institutions can share methods and outcomes, and locate lessons within the broader context of museum-based pedagogy and its role in higher education.