object learning

Treating merging forms of evidence around us as a collective ensemble


Davíd CarrascoAs an historian of religions, Davíd Carrasco, Neil L. Rudenstine Professor for the Study of Latin America, conducts his courses through an ensemble approach, which enables students to learn about complex evidence from a variety of approaches, sources and mediums. This approach contains four parts: (1) using an interdisciplinary intellectual method, (2) incorporating a variety of sources, including artifacts, texts, films, and museum exhibitions; (3) expanding disciplinary perspectives through team teaching and visiting speakers; and (4) organizing diverse student experiences and inviting a range of responses. One example of the ensemble in action is Carrasco’s annual collaboration with the Peabody Museum on their Día de los Muertos exhibition as part of his Gen Ed course, Montezuma’s Mexico: Then and Now (co-taught with William L. Fash) in which students visit and add their own interpretations and art works to the ofrendas.

Moving from passive learning to active exploration of the physical world


Scott EdwardsScott Edwards, Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Curator of Ornithology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ)makes extensive use of the museum’s ornithology collections in his courses and brings specimens into his lecture sessions to engage students in close analysis during weekly three-hour labs. Edwards models “ways of making meaning” by looking to specimens as key evidence for testing claims and theories.

 

Research: An Investigation of the Educational Power and Potential of the Harvard University Art Museums Study Centers

A collaborative investigation into the nature of visitor learning at the Harvard Art Museums revealed that museum study centers provide active learning opportunities not only through interaction with the objects, but also through engagement with the museum staff and other visitors, as well as...

Read more about Research: An Investigation of the Educational Power and Potential of the Harvard University Art Museums Study Centers

Framing the Material Past (ablConnect)

Online active learning database ablConnect includes examples of instructional use of museum collections, including curation of a Zeega online gallery of medieval artifacts.

Analyzing Andean Artifacts (ablConnect)

Online active learning database ablConnect includes examples of instructional use of museum collections, including examination of Andean artifacts at the Harvard Peabody Museum.

Harvard Art Museums teaching staff

The museums’ team of educators, curators, conservators, scientists, and technologists consult with faculty from all disciplines to explore how the collections might support their course goals. 

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