It seems natural that an art history course would visit an art museum as part of course curriculum, but what about a musculoskeletal anatomy course? Thanks to a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of Michigan Museum of Art has been able to increase outreach to the University of Michigan's academic community. Grant-funded staff at UMMA reach out to instructors in departments across the University and help them identify works in the museum's collection that will augment and complement their courses. As a result, the number of University courses making visits to the museum nearly doubled in the 2012-2013 academic year. This includes classes from art history, history, language, and cultural studies, to musculoskeletal anatomy. (Melissa Gross, Professor of Movement Science in the School of Kinesiology, assigned her students to evaluate the realism of anatomical representations in works on paper from Renaissance and early modern Europe.) According to Martha Jones, Professor of History and Afroamerican and African Studies who worked with UMMA staff to identify objects for her African-American Women's History course, "the staff introduced us to materials that were new, provocative, and greatly expanded the learning experience."
Academic museums like the University of Michigan Museum of Art represent over 23% of AAMD's membership.
More information about the University of Michigan Museum of Art's academic outreach and engagement can be found in "Making the Course-Collection Connection" from the Fall 2013 issue of UMMA Magazine.
Image: Museum visits by university classes nearly doubled in the 2012-2013 academic year. Here, Andrew Gurstelle, a graduate student in Anthropology, conducts a tour for Professor Naomi Andre's class, Art in Cultural Contexts. Image courtesy of the University of Michigan Museum of Art.