Kara Morrow and Sarah Van Oss

Kara Morrow, Assistant Professor of Art History, and Sarah Van Oss '16, Art History and Archaeology Double Major, editing Sarah's text in the CWAM gallery in preparation for the course-embedded exhibition, "The Performative in African Art," selected from the CWAM's collection. This exhibition project was part of the 2013 Wooster Forum: Facing Race.


Faculty and Teaching

The College of Wooster Art Museum as a Teaching Resource

Student learning styles vary widely, from the aural and/or visual to the kinesthetic. The College of Wooster Art Museum is an excellent on-campus teaching resource where Wooster faculty can explore a variety of options for using the museum as a site for active learning. Possibilities include bringing classes for a facilitated tour, requesting permanent collection materials for class use, developing an exhibition as part of a class, or participating as co-curators.

Student learning in the CWAM focuses on Object-Based Learning (OBL), which grounds discussion, contextual research, and writing within the "exhibit" or object. There are three fundamental points of intersection between the CWAM and teaching with each having varying levels of duration and depth of experience. These range from one-hour tours to collections materials used in classroom teaching to semester long, course-integrated exhibition projects led by the CWAM Director/Curator and/or faculty.

Within any of these three OBL learning environments, students will be able to demonstrate through written and/or oral communication:

  1. visual literacy, or the "reading" of material culture, through formal/descriptive analysis;
  2. synthesizing of formal analysis with contextual research;
  3. and, optimally, evidence of multi-disciplinary inquiry.

The Academic Art Museum: A Teaching Resource for Faculty (.pdf)

CWAM Integrated Assessment Plan (.pdf)

CWAM Student Survey for Tours and Collection Use (.pdf)

Ways to use the CWAM as a teaching resource 

Permanent Collections

  • For use in object-based research
  • Primary material for I.S. topics
  • Faculty and/or student curated exhibitions

Class Tours and Visits

  • Facilitated class tours
  • For writing assignments
  • Alternative location for class discussions
  • Acquaint First-Year Seminars with a campus resource

Departments that have Participated in Museum/Course-Integrated Projects

  • Art and Art History
  • Chemistry
  • English
  • Geology
  • Sociology/Anthropology
  • Theatre and Dance
  • Philosophy

Cross-disciplinary Projects

What faculty say about the CWAM and teaching

  • My students are usually exposed to the expression of new ideas in the form of a written text. What is exciting about the exhibitions in The College of Wooster Art Museum is that the museum engages students with challenging ideas through creative and complex works of art. This helps students understand how to express themselves in different media and to break down disciplinary boundaries.

    Hank Kreuzman, Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement/Philosophy
  • I like to bring my classes to the art museum when there is an appropriate exhibit—which is surprisingly often. Art constitutes an alternative channel for conveying information, and it's useful for everyone to have a break from all the auditory processing to see something so concrete and visual. The art, in a way, captures and externalizes other people's experience, so it provides my psychology students with insight into others' perspectives on a topic.

    Susan Clayton, Psychology
  • Bodymaps brought a very personal, emotional aspect to the course topic. Instead of just an academic survey of HIV/AIDS, they could see, through the body maps, how AIDS affects individuals. I think it encouraged empathy, which I would have a difficult time teaching. It also made art very approachable, as the body maps were done by community members, and not trained artists.

    Amber Garcia, Psychology/Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • I brought my students to the museum's exhibit on trees in January 2011, and was simply amazed at their response. In all seriousness, I could not have made the connections between the aesthetic appreciation, functionality, and environmental importance of trees in the classroom that the students were able to get from viewing and then journaling about the exhibit. And they said so themselves!

    Matthew Mariola, Environmental Studies and Sociology/Anthropology

How to arrange for collection use in teaching

To use permanent collection materials in a class, call or email Kitty McManus Zurko, Director/Curator, or Doug McGlumphy, Preparator, and describe what you are interested in and your preferred dates or time frame. They will search the collections, provide suggestions, and facilitate your class visit in the galleries.

How to arrange for class tours and visits

To arrange a facilitated class tour, call or email the museum staff to make arrangements. If you would like to have a class meet in the galleries without a tour, please let us know in case there is another scheduled class meeting at the same time. Also, museum staff facilitated tours are provided outside of the museum’s posted hours.

How to arrange a course-integrated project

This type of teaching support is usually planned at least a year in advance, and ranges from the selection and presentation of an exhibition that supports a theme or class, to course-integrated writing and student-curated projects. If you have an idea for a project or don't know where or how to start the process, contact Kitty to discuss your ideas.