The Museum Education Office
2000–2001 Annual Report
The opening of the new Persian Gallery, the arrival of Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur, and the presence in Chicago of Pharaohs of the Sun, a major traveling exhibition hosted by the Art Institute, all led to a whirlwind of educational programming this past year. Throughout the year, faculty, staff, students, and volunteers joined us in a true team effort to plan and present a rich array of exhibit-related programs for adults and a broad range of educational services for youth and families. These public programs attracted 5,000 participants, a 59% increase over last year. In addition, support from the Lloyd A Fry Foundation, the Polk Bros. Foundation, and the Regents Park/University of Chicago Fine Arts Partnership enabled us to provide a wide variety of teacher-training opportunities for Chicago Public School educators, as well as in-depth museum learning experiences for the community’s schoolchildren and their families.
Pharaohs of the Sun CollaborationsIn the summer of 2000 the Oriental Institute joined forces with cultural institutions throughout the city to take part in Egypt in Chicago: Festival of the Sun. This city-wide celebration of ancient Egyptian art and culture was inspired by the arrival at the Art Institute of Pharaohs of the Sun: Akhenaten, Nefertiti, Tutankhamun, a major traveling exhibition of art and artifacts from the Amarna Age. Festival of the Sun sparked city-wide interest in all things Egyptian, including our own Joseph and Mary Grimshaw Egyptian Gallery. This led to new partnerships, such as collaboration with the City of Chicago’s Gallery 37 program for teens. Throughout the summer, we provided these young people interested in the arts with special tours and arts programming in our Egyptian Gallery. We also arranged for Oriental Institute members and friends to have special seats for the Philip Glass opera Akenaten, presented by Chicago Opera Theater. In addition, Festival of the Sun gave us the opportunity to create two adult education programs that reached hundreds of people across the city, as well as others throughout the state and even the nation.
In July and August, Museum Education partnered with the Art Institute to present Pharaohs of the Sun: Life and Times in Egypt during the Amarna Age. This five-session course was developed by Emily Teeter, Oriental Institute Research Associate and Consultant for the Art Institute installation of the Pharaohs of the Sun exhibition. The first four sessions of the course were presented on Wednesday evenings at the Oriental Institute, enabling visitors to hear the lecture and also visit our Egyptian Gallery. Sessions 1-4 were repeated on Friday mornings at the Art Institute for those who wished to take the course there. The final meeting, held at the Art Institute for all registrants, featured a tour and discussion of the Pharaohs of the Sun exhibition. This unique, two-venue format was so successful that it attracted a total of 800 participants.
Ancient Egypt in Chicago, a week-long summer seminar, was an even broader collaboration. Presented in partnership with the University of Chicago’s Graham School of General Studies, the seminar’s instructors were W. Raymond Johnson, Research Associate and Director, Epigraphic Survey; John Larson, Museum Archivist; Robert K. Ritner, Associate Professor of Egyptology; and Emily Teeter. Guest lecturers included John Foster, Research Associate; Harold Hays, Egyptology graduate student; Janet H. Johnson, Professor of Egyptology; Charles E. Jones, Oriental Institute Archivist; Stephen Parker, Egyptologist; Justine Way, Egyptology graduate student; and Frank Yurco, Egyptologist.
Along with a series of lectures and discussions by these distinguished presenters, the seminar included an opening reception in the Egyptian Gallery, tours of the Pharaohs of the Sun exhibition at the Art Institute and of Inside Ancient Egypt at The Field Museum, and a closing banquet at the Quadrangle Club. Many attendees ended their stay with “Egyptomania: Chicago-Style,” an day-long architectural bus tour led by Michael Berger, an Egyptologist who is Head of the University of Chicago’s Language Faculty Resource Center.
The innovative nature of Ancient Egypt in Chicago attracted fifty-five participants from across the metropolitan area, as well as from fourteen different states that ranged from Massachusetts to California. One woman traveled all the way from Argentina to attend! The success of this new program format holds great promise for seminars on other topics when reinstallation of the museum’s galleries is complete.
Treasures from the Royal Tombs of UrThe rare and exquisite artifacts on view in Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur, a landmark traveling exhibition on loan to the Oriental Institute last fall and winter, inspired us to create a whole host of exciting programs designed to attract and serve a broad and diverse audience of museum visitors.
Museum Education events began with the grand opening of the exhibit to the public, a full weekend of festivities that took place 21-22 October. On both days, Education staff, volunteers, and guest presenters were hosts to crowds of enthusiastic visitors who took part in a wide variety of activities. Graduate students Dennis Campbell, Simrit Dhesi, Jacob Lauinger, and Kathy Mineck wrote visitors’ names in cuneiform on bookmarks that became souvenirs for everyone. Teen volunteers Kristen Mineck and Julia Van den Hout showed children - and their parents - how to play the Royal Game of Ur, an ancient Sumerian board game. Artist Anna Pertzoff demonstrated gold-and-silver-smithing using processes that have remained virtually unchanged since ancient times. Education staff, aided by junior docent Carl Mineck, invited everyone to try their hand at creating ancient-style jewelry as well as reproductions of ancient Sumerian cylinder seals. A lecture by Karen L. Wilson, Museum Director, introduced the Sumerian masterpieces on view and described how their discovery was among the most spectacular archaeological finds of the twentieth century. The latest documentary films on ancient Sumer played continuously in Breasted Hall. And a dedicated corps of volunteers staffed the exhibition from opening to closing each day to answer the countless questions posed by visitors. Special thanks and appreciation to Rebecca Binkley, Gabrielle Da Silva, Henriette Klawans, Carol Meyer, Donald Payne, Stephen Ritzel, Lucie Sandel, Deloris Sanders, Bernadette Strnad, Teresa Hintzke, and Carole Yoshida.
Adult education opportunities in conjunction with Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur included Ancient Sumer: Cities of Eden, a eight-session lecture course taught by Clemens Reichel, and Masterpieces and Mystique, a day-long symposium co-sponsored by the Graham School of General Studies. Oriental Institute lecturers included McGuire Gibson, Professor of Mesopotamian Archaeology on “You Can Take It With You: The Ur Royal Tombs in Long-Time Perspective”; and Karen L. Wilson on “Precious Beauty: The Art of the Royal Cemetery.” Guest lecturers included Anne Draffkorn Kilmer, Professor of Assyriology and Ancient Mesopotamian Civilization, University of California at Berkeley, on “The Musical Instruments from Ur and the Music of Mesopotamia,” and Richard L. Zettler, Associate Curator-in-Charge of the Near East Section, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, on “Ur of the Chaldees: Inside Woolley’s Excavation at the Birthplace of the Biblical Patriarch Abraham.”
Other programs ranged from a screening of The Mole People, a 1950s on-beyond-camp view of the Sumerians (this was introduced by Matthew W. Stolper, John Wilson Professor of Assyriology and film aficionado) to a special Open House introducing Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur to teachers and school administrators in Hyde Park-Kenwood. Generously supported by the Regents Park/University of Chicago Fine Arts Partnership, this program was designed to help educators take advantage of the extraordinary museum learning opportunities presented by the Ur exhibit. The Open House featured a lecture by Karen Wilson, exhibit-related curriculum materials, demonstrations of gallery activities available for students, and a wine-and-cheese reception.
For children and their families, we presented The Magic Carpet: Stories, Songs, and Ancient Art, a special event co-sponsored by Mostly Music, a Hyde Park organization that has been presenting emerging young talent and prize-winning artists to the community for twenty-eight years. The Magic Carpet was supported in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council. During the program, master storyteller Judith Heineman introduced the Sumerian King Gilgamesh as the world’s first superhero and held her audience spellbound with tales of ancient quests, magic, monsters, and epic battles between good and evil. Musician Daniel Marcotte accompanied Heineman with melodies played on ancient-style instruments. Sold out during its fall presentation, The Magic Carpet was repeated in winter to another sold-out crowd.
Adult EducationAlong with adult education programs related to the Ur exhibit, Museum Education offered participants many other choices this past year - multi-session adult education courses on-campus, classes at the University’s downtown Gleacher Center for those who live north, and a growing selection of correspondence courses to meet the needs and interests of people who seek us out from locations worldwide.
Correspondence courses this year served participants from twenty-nine different states and the District of Columbia, as well as locales that ranged from Europe to South America. Stephen Parker, assisted by Hratch Papazian, taught “Hieroglyphs by Mail” for beginning and intermediate students. Daniel Nevez taught “Cuneiform by Mail.” Frank Yurco presented two courses on audio-tape - “Egypt at the Dawn of History: The Predynastic Period” and “Great Pyramids and Divine Kings: The Old Kingdom in Ancient Egypt.” Assisted by John Sanders, Head of the Oriental Institute Computer Laboratory, Yurco added a new, and very well-received, feature to both these courses. He placed full-color slides on the Oriental Institute website, so that his students - using a special URL - could view archaeological sites and artifacts on their own computers while listening to the audio-taped lectures.
Serving students closer to home, two courses were presented at the Gleacher Center. Offered in conjunction with the Graham School of General Studies, these courses were “Before the Bible: The Archaeology of Prehistoric Israel and the Levant,” taught by Aaron Burke, and “The Religion of Ancient Egypt,” taught by Frank Yurco.
Courses offered at the Oriental Institute included “History of Ancient Egypt, Part VII” and “Part VIII,” and “Egypt and Nubia in Antiquity,” all taught by Frank Yurco; “Introduction to Archaeology: Techniques, Theory, and Practice,” by Aaron Burke; “The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts,” taught by Harold Hays, and “Egyptian Archaeology: Temples, Tombs, and Settlements,” taught by Justine Way. These courses were also co-sponsored by the Graham School.
In addition to formal courses, other adult education opportunities for the public were available throughout the year. Laura D’Alessandro, Head of the Oriental Institute Conservation Laboratory, presented a richly illustrated slide lecture showing the remarkable work taking place to reinstall our Assyrian reliefs, a monumental project that will reunite these sculptures with the 40-ton human-head winged bull that stood alongside them in antiquity. Longtime docent Mary Shea provided a rare contemporary view of Persepolis in a slide presentation based on the photographs she took at the ruins of the ancient Persian capital in 1997. And our new Persian Gallery was the inspiration and setting for a grand celebration of Naw Rouz, the Persian New Year. More than 300 Oriental Institute members and friends attended the celebration, which was co-sponsored by Museum Education and the Development Office in collaboration with the University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Iranian Cultural Society, and the Persian Cultural Society, a University of Chicago student organization. The event featured a superb buffet of traditional foods and a Haft Seen table filled with traditional symbols of spring, all donated by the Iranian cultural society. Guest speakers included John Woods, Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Heshmat Moayyad, Professor of Classical and Modern Persian Literature, and Iranian filmmaker Mansooreh Saboori, whose documentary film, “Children of the Sun” had its world premiere at this event.
Other free, drop-by events featuring all our exhibits took place during the year. These included informal, docent-led tours following each of our free Sunday afternoon film showings; such tours were usually filled to overflowing during the run of Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur. We also offered “Noontime in Another Time,” a repeat of last year’s popular summer gallery talk series for the University community and our Hyde Park neighbors; in winter and spring we presented Wednesday evening gallery talks.
None of our gallery-based public programs could have taken place without the support and involvement of enthusiastic and dedicated docent volunteers. Docents also played key roles in programs presented for the University community. New students and their parents received special docent-led tours during Student Orientation Week. Tours of the Treasures of the Royal Tombs of Ur exhibit were among the most sought-after events during Humanities Day in the fall. And docents staffed the galleries to answer countless questions when the Graduate School of Business held its annual reunion at the Oriental Institute this spring. For all of their help and support, our thanks and gratitude to docents Debbie Aliber, Rebecca Binkley, Dorothy Blindt, Wanda Bolton, Myllicent Buchanan, David Covill, Gabrielle Da Silva, Joe Diamond, Debby Halpern, Teresa Hintzke, Elizabeth Lassers, Nina Longley, Kathy Mineck, Sherif Marcus, Donald Payne, Kitty Picken, Rita Picken, Patrick Regnery, Stephen Ritzel, Deloris Sanders, Lucie Sandel, Bernadette Strnad, Mary Shea, Mari Terman, Karen Terras, and Carole Yoshida.
Youth and Family ProgramsIn addition to family programs presented with the Ur exhibit, familiar favorites along with new events continued to serve children and their families throughout the year. For the fifth straight season we collaborated with Lill Street Studio on the north side for “Be an Ancient Egyptian Artist,” our popular children’s summer day-camp that fills to capacity almost as soon as it is announced. For the second year in a row we also offered the camp on the south side, in partnership with the Hyde Park Art Center. In fall we made the Oriental Institute’s fifteenth annual return to the 57th Street Children’s Book Fair, where volunteers Rebecca Binkley, Kristina Cooper, Elizabeth Gannett, and Kathy, Kristen, and Carl Mineck helped hundreds of children and their families create Sumerian-style cylinder seals in anticipation of the arrival of Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur. Fall also featured the first annual Chicago Book Week - a favorite project of Mayor Richard M. Daley. We took part by inviting young museum visitors to create their own ancient-Egyptian-style “book,” a scroll of scenes decorated with hieroglyphs. In winter, we joined with the Smart Museum of Art and the Hyde Park Art Center to develop and present “Picturing Worlds Near and Far,” a Family Day filled with a array of art-making activities, including landscape-painting ancient-Egyptian-style. In spring, we joined forces with University Theater (UT), whose talented University of Chicago student performers developed and presented a remarkably creative one-act adaptation of the Epic of Gilgamesh. The play was performed on UT’s own stage, in Breasted Hall, and at eight public schools in Hyde-Park Kenwood. Plans are underway for the UT version of Gilgamesh to be a featured part of events celebrating the opening of the reinstalled Mesopotamian Gallery next year.
“Families in the Museum” ProjectIn 1999, Museum Education embarked on an extensive project that will have an impact on our services for children and families for years to come. That year, the Polk Bros. Foundation awarded the Oriental Institute a major grant to create museum learning experiences that would attract and serve families who generally do not take advantage of museums as a leisure-time option. This project is being implemented in partnership with parents, students, and administrators from the North Kenwood/Oakland Charter School (NKO), who have been working with us to develop and test a wide range of self-guided learning experiences for families based on exhibits in the Egyptian Gallery.
Anna Rochester is supervising this project in partnership with a panel of NKO parents and children that includes: Deborah Anderson and Jamilla (age 12); Ramona and Urie Clark and Erin (age 11) and nephew Tyler Lewis (age 8); Janet and Samuel Gray and Melanie (age 7); Garcena and Bryant Hagood and Nioki (age 12); and Dennis and Brenda Noble and Bryce (age 7) and Brendan (age 14). Advisors to the project are Marvin Hoffman and Barbara Williams, co-directors of NKO, and Jane Dowling of Wellington Consulting Group, Ltd., who is serving as educational evaluator.
Over the past year the parents have been helping us focus on informational tools and approaches to make them feel comfortable in the museum with their children and also to provide ways for children to make discoveries that excite and involve them in learning about the ancient past. The parents indicated the need for printed handouts to help organize the museum experience, enabling children to find and then learn about objects related to a particular theme, such as “ancient animals.” But they urged us to avoid handouts that were “jam-packed” with information. Instead they wished to spark curiosity, inspiring the children to want to learn more. And they asked for resources within the museum to satisfy that curiosity, so that the children - and their parents - could continue their explorations “on the spot,” but in ways that let the children be actively involved in the experience. “Our kids learn best,” said the parents, “when they make discoveries on their own.”
These discussions with parents have led to the development of three prototype learning approaches that are now in the testing process with parents and children. The first prototype is a series of colorful and handsomely designed Egyptian Gallery “treasure hunts” that can help families focus on learning experiences related to specific artifacts or ideas. The second is a computer kiosk where children and parents can be introduced to the gallery, and also discover answers to questions that their exploration of themes and artifacts might raise. This approach is providing the “hands-on,” interactive experience that the parents, and NKO staff, have encouraged. Finally, both parents and children have found the idea of audio-tours for families highly appealing since such tours allow the children to control their own learning by punching in numbered keys to choose what to hear. Every family has enjoyed prototype audio-tours with a storytelling format, as well as those with questions that encourage discussion between parents and children.
Anna Rochester, an extraordinarily talented and experienced arts educator, is designing all these prototype activities. This year, she has been aided by Nitzan Mekel, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Egyptology from Brandeis University and is now a graduate student at the University of Chicago. Along with his academic knowledge, Nitzan has experience with computers and museums, having helped develop a website related to the ancient history collection at the Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta. Along with John Sanders, Head of the Oriental Institute Computer Laboratory, Nitzan is providing Anna with the technological support needed to develop “family-friendly” computer programming for children and their parents.
We envision the activities emerging from the “Families in the Museum” project will become a model for family learning throughout the galleries as our remaining exhibits reopen. The success of this project is validating our belief that true partnerships with intended audiences are the most effective ways to create educational experiences that are meaningful and enduring.
Teacher Training ServicesAnna Rochester is also involved in additional grant-funded programs that are helping Museum Education expand its services to teachers - and their students - in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Since 1998, generous support from the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation has enabled us to present three in-depth teacher training seminars on the ancient Near East in collaboration with the CPS Teachers Academy for Professional Growth. Designed to meet educators’ needs for both academic content and teaching resources, these series of seminars have a unique and highly successful format which includes:
- Lectures by Oriental Institute faculty and staff
- Workshops that engage the teachers in hands-on involvement with the Oriental Institute’s award-winning curriculum materials on the ancient Near East
- Workshops in the galleries, involving the teachers in ways to use the museum’s collections, both for their own learning and as a resource for their students
This year’s seminar filled to capacity almost immediately when thirty-eight educators from thirty-two CPS schools located throughout the city enrolled in the program. As in the past, participants ranged from kindergarten teachers to high-school faculty and also included communication specialists, school librarians, educators of children with special needs, teachers of the gifted, bilingual education instructors, and curriculum coordinators. These educators reach approximately 4,000 students annually. As always, the success of the program could be seen in the projects produced by the teachers and their students. Those projects, which were highlighted at a special CPS “Action Lab” hosted at the Oriental Institute for educators city-wide, ranged all the way from a mathematics unit where students solved problems using cuneiform on clay tablets, to the research that transformed a classroom teacher into the Mesopotamian Queen Puabi, complete with a replica of the queen’s magnificent golden crown.
Anna Rochester has been the driving force behind the Institute’s teacher-training program since its inception. Over the past year she has also devoted her attention to sharing the exemplary work of seminar participants with an audience that extends far beyond the city of Chicago. Assisted by John Sanders, she is transforming the teachers classroom and museum gallery lessons into website materials that can be accessed from the Oriental Institute’s new Online Teacher Resource Center. Supported by the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, this unique online center is enabling the Oriental Institute to expand and enhance the services it provides for educators locally, nationally, and even worldwide.
Anna is also the Oriental Institute’s liaison to Chicago WebDocent, a collaboration between the Chicago Public Schools/University of Chicago Internet Project, and several Chicago cultural institutions. Along with the Oriental Institute, these include the Adler Planetarium, the Chicago Historical Society, The Field Museum, and the Museum of Science and Industry. This project is developing a model for the production of web-based curriculum materials drawn from the resources of multiple museums. We are pleased to be part of this groundbreaking venture that has gained regional and national attention for its innovative work.
Other services for teachers offered last year included our participation in Spotlight on Chicago, a resource fair for teachers and administrators that was sponsored by the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, a workshop for educators sponsored by Roosevelt University, and an Information Fair for all the faculty at Kenwood Academy. We also joined with the Smart Museum of Art and the DuSable Museum of African-American History to host an Open House for Chicago Public School principals. This event was co-sponsored by the University of Chicago Office of Community Relations.
Regents Park/University of Chicago Fine Arts PartnershipGenerous support from a local foundation is enabling us to further our relationships with neighborhood cultural institutions and local public schools. This past year, the Regents Park/University of Chicago Fine Arts Partnership awarded a third year of support to the Hyde Park Art Center, the Smart Museum of Art, University Theater, the University’s Music Department, and the Oriental Institute, so that we all can continue expanding our educational enrichment services for Hyde Park/Kenwood schoolchildren.
The Oriental Institute’s neighborhood school partners are Bret Harte School, Ray School, the North Kenwood/Oakland Charter School (NKO), and Kenwood Academy. This past year, the Regents Park Partnership provided support for two special programs at Kenwood. The first was a study of ancient Egyptian arts and archaeology in collaboration with the 11th and 12th grade African-American Studies Program taught by Liz Kirby. This program included an introduction to Egyptian archaeology through student use of Oriental Institute resource materials; classroom visits by Egyptology graduate student Justine Way, who discussed her work on excavations at the site of the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx; and museum visits focusing on Egyptian art, with bus transport and materials for students provided by the Regents Park Partnership. We appreciate the support that has enabled us to work in tandem with Ms. Kirby, who talents as an educator have just earned her the prestigious Golden Apple Award.
The second collaboration was an expanded version of the program on Egypt in the Roman era that has taken place over the past two years with students of Latin teacher Alice Mulberry. This year, in addition to a classroom presentation on archaeology by Clemens Reichel, a guided museum tour focusing on Egypt in Roman times, and a pottery reconstruction session, the students also visited the Spertus Museum. There they took part in a joint Oriental Institute/Spertus Museum program that featured an archaeological dig simulation focusing on the world in Roman times. Along with Ms. Mulberry, Kenwood Social Studies Department Chairperson Renna Alissandratos served as a chaperone on this trip, terming it an extremely worthwhile learning experience for the students.
Collaboration with the Spertus Museum also figured prominently in Regents Park Partnership programs for 6th grade students in our partner elementary schools. For them, the emphasis was on Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur. Teachers, museum educators, and docents from both institutions met to plan a joint program that would introduce students to the investigative processes involved in archaeology as well as to the historic and artistic masterpieces discovered during the excavations at Ur. Archaeology graduate student Jesse Casana served as special advisor to the project, which enabled close to 200 6th graders to take part in:
- Simulated dig experience at the Spertus Museum
- Discussion session with Casana, who introduced them to the excavations at Ur and answered questions about his own work
- Docent-led guided tour of the Treasures of Ur exhibition
- Hands-on arts experience with gold and silver foils and metalworking tools that let students recreate art motifs from the ancient treasures on display.
Along with Casana, as well as archaeology graduate student Colleen Coyle, special thanks go to Ray School teacher Mary Cobb, NKO teacher Marcus Tollerud, Curator Susan Marcus of Spertus Museum’s Artifact Center, and docents Nina Longley, Kathy Mineck, Deloris Sanders, Daila Shefner, Mari Terman, and Karen Terras.
Ray School and NKO students also took part in special programming related to the Egyptian Gallery. Both took guided tours and then participated in sketching and writing activities related to the art and artifacts on display. Our thanks to docents Debbie Aliber, Myllicent Buchanan, Ira Hardman, Mary Harter, and Lee Herbst, who helped plan and evaluate these activities. Ray programming concluded with two in-school residencies. Nitzan Mekel visited classes to discuss how scholars use the latest scientific techniques - such as MRI and CT scans - to study ancient Egyptian mummies. Anna Rochester involved students in creating papyrus-like paper, which the students then inscribed with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. NKO enjoyed a two-day residency with ceramic artist Hardy Schlick, who brought ancient Egyptian art to life by demonstrating the making of vessels out of clay, and then involved students in recreating the ancient arts processes to make their own ancient Egyptian-style objects.
In the spring, the Regents Park Fine Arts Partnership helped Museum Education reach out to the community in an even wider way. Students and families of Hyde Park/Kenwood’s elementary schools were invited to Ancient Earth, a free celebration of Earth Day that filled the museum with arts activities, music, and dance on Sunday 22 April. Co-sponsored by the Smart Museum of Art, the Hyde Park Art Center, and the Environmental Concerns Organization, a campus student group, this event invited visitors to create ancient-style sculpture using recycled materials, taught the ancient game of Mancala using recycled egg cartons, and introduced ways to make “mummy masks” using plastic milk jugs. Jutta and the Hi-Dukes, a folk group specializing in Middle Eastern music, had children and their parents dancing in Breasted Hall. This special event could not have taken place without the support of the Regents Park/University of Chicago Fine Arts Partnership.
Oriental Institute School AffiliatesGenerous support from major grants has been essential in enabling Museum Education to create award-winning services and materials for schools. In 1998, principals of several schools that had been collaborating with us on grant-funded projects helped us develop the Oriental Institute/CPS School Affiliates program, which allows schools to pay a modest fee for services as grant-funded support comes to an end. Principals are especially interested in retaining such services as outreach visits by graduate students, who describe ways the Oriental Institute learns about the ancient past, and visits by Oriental Institute and community artists, who involve students in ancient arts processes. Thanks to the Affiliates Program, our team of graduate students and artists can continue their outreach work. This year’s team of graduate students included Aaron Burke, Jesse Casana, Nitzan Mekel, Clemens Reichel, Jason Ur, and Justine Way. Artists included Liz Cruger, Robert Gadomski, Judith Heineman, Daniel Marcotte, Randolph Olive, Anna Pertzoff, Anna Rochester, and Hardy Schlick. These classroom visits and other services were so well received that the principals voted to renew the Affiliates program for the third year in a row, once again affirming the value of the educational services we provide for schools.
Behind the ScenesTaking stock of all that has been accomplished during this past year, I would like to express once again how much I appreciate the encouragement and support Museum Education has received from faculty, staff, students, and volunteers. And nothing would have been possible without the vision, creativity, and extraordinary dedication of the Museum Education Office staff. The invaluable contributions of Anna Rochester, Teacher Services and Family Programs Coordinator, are evident throughout this report. Several additional people require special mention here.
Much of the success of all our programs has been due to Judy Chavin, Education Programs Associate, who served as our public relations officer, editor, and graphics design expert from May 1998 to June 2001. Judy wrote and distributed our quarterly press packets, and all individual press releases. She also designed and supervised production of all our educational and marketing materials, including a quarterly calendar of events, a semi-annual tour brochure, and marketing pieces for individual programs. In addition, she developed a highly effective campaign of paid advertisements for a variety of community calendars, as well as selected local, regional, and national media. Her expertise lent all these materials a highly professional look that belied the frugal nature of our marketing budget! All of us will miss Judy for her many talents, as well as her wit, wisdom, and caring concern for her colleagues. However, we are hopeful that she can continue to advise us as our marketing and graphic design consultant.
Two Education Office Assistants were crucial to the implementation of all educational programs. Megan Kossiakoff, a graduate in history from Stanford, assumed this part-time position last year and quickly mastered its important tasks. These include supervision of registration and confirmation of all pre-reserved adult education, family, and guided tour programs as well as financial record-keeping and provision of general information services to the public. When Megan assumed a full-time research and educational programming position at the Spertus Museum, Candi McDowell became Education Programs Assistant, but she has now also left us for a full-time position. We plan to change the Programs Assistant’s position from half time to full time in the upcoming year, reflecting the growth in educational services our department offers.
An important and long-standing mission for Museum Education has been to provide avenues for University of Chicago students to become involved with the Oriental Institute. This report has described ways graduate students hone their teaching skills as adult education instructors and school outreach visitors, and also how we strive to forge working relationship with student-run groups, such as University Theater. We also benefit every summer from the valuable assistance of student interns who work closely with us to gain practical experience with educational programming as well as increased understanding of the museum profession. This past summer Maia Nam from the History Department researched, planned, and helped implement marketing strategies for many of the Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur programs. A good portion of their success is due to her inventiveness and hard work. Nitzan Mekel also began with us last summer as an intern and quickly became such an asset that he now assists us with some of our most innovative uses of computer technology.
As you will see in the next section, the Oriental Institute Volunteer Program reached new heights this past year. The program is supervised by Cathy Dueñas and Terry Friedman, two gifted and dedicated women who are continually inspired by the creativity and commitment of their remarkable corps of volunteers. Read on to see how the volunteers have continued to serve the community through outreach while simultaneously meeting the need to present museum tours and informational services for the thousands of visitors who flocked to see Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur. Congratulations to Cathy and Terry for all they have helped the volunteers to accomplish!
Finally, I once again offer my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the Education Office staff. Your outstanding achievements are the best assurance of the Museum Education program’s continued success.
Revised: July 30, 2007