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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1998-99 Annual Report

The Museum Education Office

1998-99 ANNUAL REPORT

Carole Krucoff

Although the Oriental Institute galleries remained closed for most of this past year, each day brought us closer to the time when we could again share the treasures of our collection with visitors. The year was one filled with challenges and excitement as we simultaneously planned programming and events for the reopening of the Egyptian Gallery while continuing to offer a full schedule of educational services for adults, a wide variety of programs for children and their families, and a rich array of learning experiences for the Chicago Public Schools.

School and Teacher Services

For the last several years, the Polk Bros. Foundation has granted the Museum Education Department generous support to provide outreach and enrichment services for teachers and students in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Working in partnership with twenty-two schools located throughout the city, the Education Department has created a broad range of classroom curriculum resources and programs - including teacher and student materials and school outreach visits - that have enhanced the study of the ancient Near East for close to 10,000 CPS students.

With the museum scheduled to reopen during the 1998/99 school year, the Education Department and our partner schools sought and received Polk Bros. Foundation support for a new initiative - "Schools in the Museum: Integrating Classroom and Museum Experiences." Anna Rochester, the Education Department's School and Teacher Services Coordinator, is supervising this new collaboration. The project is enabling her to experiment with ways the concepts and activities presented in the Oriental Institute's curriculum materials - which have replaced the traditional classroom textbook at many partner schools - can serve as a springboard for innovative and effective learning experiences in the newly reopened Egyptian Gallery. Such complete integration of classroom curricula with museum learning is unprecedented in the city of Chicago and may make a major impact on ways museums and schools work together to improve public education.

A talented artist and extraordinarily capable museum and classroom educator, Anna Rochester has been the driving force behind all of the Institute's museum-school partnership activities since 1997. For the "Schools in the Museum" project, a panel of CPS elementary-school teachers, curriculum coordinators, and administrators are working in collaboration with her. Panelists include: Lincoln Brown, Bret Harte School; Mary Cobb, Ray School; Richard Diaz, Field School; Mary McElroy, Donaghue School; Ingia Jackson, Saywer School; Trish Ronan, Clissold School, Jeffrey Sadoff, Jackson School; Shirley Talley-Smith, Lafayette School, and Georgette White, Bass School. Two consultants are also helping to shape the program. Sara Spurlark, Associate Director of the University of Chicago's Center for School Improvement, has been guiding us with her wise council since 1993. Susan Stodolsky, Professor in the University's Departments of Education and Psychology, has joined us to serve as the "Schools in the Museum" program evaluator.

Anna was also involved in two additional grant-funded programs that have helped the Education Department expand its services to the Chicago Public Schools this year. Generous support from the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation allowed us to develop and pilot a teacher-training program on ancient Egypt and Nubia for CPS educators. Offered in partnership with the CPS Teachers' Academy for Professional Growth, the program rapidly filled to capacity as thirty-five teachers from twenty-nine different schools located throughout the city enrolled. Participants represented the gamut of CPS instruction, ranging from kindergarten teachers all the way to high school faculty, as well as literacy instructors, special education teachers, bilingual educators, curriculum coordinators, and even an elementary school librarian.

Designed to meet teachers' needs for both academic content and curriculum resources, the training program began with a series of lectures led by Oriental Institute faculty and staff, including: Peter Dorman, Associate Professor of Egyptology; John Larson, Oriental Institute Museum Archivist; Robert Ritner, Associate Professor of Egyptology; John Sanders, Head of the Computer Laboratory; Emily Teeter, Oriental Institute Associate Curator; Steve Vinson, Oriental Institute Research Associate; Karen L. Wilson, Oriental Institute Museum Director; and Frank Yurco. The lectures were followed by workshops that engaged the teachers in hands-on involvement with the Oriental Institute's array of curriculum materials on ancient Egypt and Nubia. These materials, originally developed over the past several years in collaboration with the museum's partner schools, include curriculum guides, full-color posters, maps, lesson plans, and replicas of museum artifacts. Used for the very first time as teacher-training tools, these unique materials enabled seminar participants to relate the academic content of faculty lectures directly to specific teaching and learning strategies for the classroom. The success of this new program could be seen in the work produced by the teachers' students. Classroom projects ranged from travel brochures enticing tourists to journey back in time for a visit to the ancient Nubian city of Meroe - a fourth-grade class project - all the way to eleventh-grade honor students comparing and contrasting ancient Egyptian and medieval Anglo-Saxon literature. Examples from these and other student projects will be on view in a special Oriental Institute Museum display that opens this summer.

A grant from a generous local foundation is providing support to establish closer ties with sister institutions on campus and with our neighborhood public schools. Funding from the University of Chicago/Regents Park Fine Arts Partnership is enabling the Oriental Institute, Court Theater, University Theater, the University's Music Department, the Smart Museum of Art, and the Hyde Park Art Center to provide special educational enrichment programming for our community schools.

Working in collaboration with principals and teachers from Kenwood Academy and Ray and Bret Harte Schools, the Fine Arts Partnership Program has helped Museum Education offer experiences never before available for students. This past fall, 150 sixth-graders from Ray and Bret Harte sat spellbound during a lecture and video presentation by Mark Lehner, who was introduced to them as a leading authority on the pyramids and sphinx at Giza. Student letters to Lehner revealed the impact he had made. One boy thanked the archaeologist for "talking to us about what you do - it is probably something I will remember for the rest of my life." Other projects supported at Ray and Bret Harte included artist-in-residency programs where students learned how to create their own versions of ancient Nubian-style leatherwork and ancient Egyptian-style jewelry.

At Kenwood Academy, teacher Alice Mulberry's Latin classes had special experiences based on their study of ancient Rome. Alexandra O'Brien, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Ph.D. candidate, presented a slide lecture on Egypt in Roman times. Then students tried their hand at rebuilding replicas of ancient-style pottery. The three-part program ended with a tour of the new Egyptian Gallery led by Associate Curator Emily Teeter, who focused on art and artifacts from Egypt's Roman period.

In the spring, the Oriental Institute joined with its University of Chicago/Regents Park Fine Arts Partnership colleagues to co-sponsor "Young at Art," a Sunday afternoon arts festival at Ida Noyes Hall showcasing partnership projects that had taken place during the school year. At the Oriental Institute's booth, school-residency artists Robert Gadomski and Anna Pertzoff fascinated children and their parents by inviting them to try ancient Nubian-style leatherwork or ancient Egyptian-style metalworking. An evening Open House at Kenwood Academy showed families and friends the partnership's work with high school students.

The end of the school year brought the Museum Education Department closer to fulfilling a major goal. Last year, our partner school principals created the Oriental Institute Museum/CPS School Affiliates Program, a pilot project encouraging each school to contribute a modest fee so that partnership activities could continue throughout the school year. Principals were especially interested in retaining such services as school 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 demonstrate and involve students in recreating ancient arts processes. Thanks to the Affiliates Program, our team of graduate students and artists could continue their outreach work. This year's team of graduate student visitors included Jesse Casana, Joseph Daniels, Nicole Hansen, Alexandra O'Brien, Jason Ur, and Justine Way. Artists included Elizabeth Cruger, Robert Gadomski, Randolph Olive, Anna Pertzoff, and Hardy Schlick. Their classroom visits were so well received that principals voted to renew the Affiliates Program for the upcoming school year. Principals will also assist in expanding the program to additional schools. This means a structured system is now in place that can help school and teacher services endure and grow in the years to come.

Public Programs

Familiar favorites as well as new educational opportunities for the public filled the 1998/99 calendar. Adult education programs attracted 1,764 participants, an increase of 54% over last year. Programs for youth and families drew 1,650 children and their parents to museum events, both at the Institute and in partnership with sister institutions throughout the community. Year's end brought what we had all been waiting for - a grand celebration that attracted nearly 2,000 visitors to the museum for a three-day festival of programming to open the new Joseph and Mary Grimshaw Egyptian Gallery.

Adult Education Programs

Adult education took many formats this past year, serving participants who ranged from Hyde Park neighbors joining classes and programs offered at the Institute to correspondence and internet course registrants from across the nation and around the world.

Courses presented on campus included Akhenhaten and the Amarna Age, Ancient Egyptian Society, Egypt at the Dawn of History, and Great Pyramids and Divine Kings, all taught by Frank Yurco. Islamic Art and Architecture, which included a bus tour to see Islamic-style architecture in the Chicago area, was taught by Judith Pfeiffer. Michael Kozuh taught From the Nile to the Indus: The Empire of the Ancient Persians. Alexandra O'Brien was the instructor for Women in Ancient Egypt. Nicole Hansen taught Ancient Lives: Tomb-Builders of the Pharaohs. Steve Vinson was the instructor for Ancient Mariners.

Correspondence and audio-taped courses, as well as learning opportunities over the internet, all proved highly appealing this year. Nearly 100 participants, living in locations that ranged from Maine to California, enrolled in Hieroglyphs by Mail. Two sections of the course were offered, taught by Steve Vinson and Stephen Parker, with assistance from Thomas Dousa and Nicole Hansen. Frank Yurco continued his well-received series of audio-taped courses by presenting Ancient Egyptian Law and Ethics, Part I, followed by Part II. Student evaluations praised the format and content of the taped lectures, which are recordings of adult education class sessions held on campus. One student summarized the feelings of many when he wrote that "hearing the instructor and the class puts me right into the classroom … it's nice hearing the outside college bells, too."

Internet instruction continued to reach a world-wide audience. Steve Vinson became an internet instructor this spring when he presented Ancient Mariners On-Line, an internet version of his on-campus class. John Sanders, Head of the Computer Laboratory, remains our mentor for all internet programs, which could not take place without his expertise, patience, and guidance.

Along with multi-session courses, adult education programs continued to be offered in a wide variety of formats. Field trips remained a favorite, with two highly regarded programs repeated by popular request. Egypt in Chicago, a one-day trip that presents insiders' views on the city's three major collections of ancient Egyptian art, sold out again - for the sixth time! Emily Teeter, Oriental Institute Associate Curator; Frank Yurco, and Mary Greuel, Research Associate in the Department of European and Decorative Arts and Sculpture and Classical Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, gave their usual masterful presentations. Egyptologist Michael Berger led his second presentation of Egyptomania: Chicago-Style, offered this time in collaboration with the Chicago Historical Society. A day-long bus tour that explores how Egyptian design has influenced the look of architectural and historic sites throughout the city, Egyptomania: Chicago-Style has come to have an unexpected but noteworthy impact on the preservation of the city's architectural heritage. One site visited on the tour is the Reebie Storage and Moving Company, a northside building that is adorned inside and out with ancient Egyptian-style motifs. This past year, the Reebie building owners planned to drastically renovate the structure. Robert Ritner, Associate Professor of Egyptology, appeared before the Chicago Landmarks Commission to speak out against such destruction; his argument that the Oriental Institute had used the building as part of its educational programming helped influence the Commission to make the entire Reebie structure an official Chicago landmark.

Free public lectures were an important programming feature during the winter and spring. Emily Teeter presented two lectures: "Moving King Tut" described the challenge of transporting our 15,000 pound statue from the old to the new Egyptian Gallery; "Mummies Meet High Tech" described how today's Egyptologists are joining forces with physicians to examine Egyptian mummies using the latest scientific techniques. Frank Yurco filled Breasted Hall with a lecture on "Fact and Fiction in the Biblical Book of Exodus," which was co-sponsored by the Graham School of General Studies. Jill Carlotta Maher, Assistant to the Director of the Epigraphic Survey, presented "Rescuing Ancient Egypt," a slide lecture on ways Chicago House is struggling against time to record ancient inscriptions and carvings before environmental pressures destroy them forever.

Film programming presented a return engagement and some dramatic new options this year. Michael Berger brought back last season's Ancient Egypt Goes Hollywood for another look at ways the land of the pharaohs has been depicted in the movies. Several festivals of contemporary Middle Eastern films, which drew rave reviews from the metropolitan press, attracted an entirely new audience to Breasted Hall. Co-sponsored in a first-time collaboration with the University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Language Laboratory and Archives, and the Newberger Hillel Center, the free festivals highlighted full-length feature films from Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Turkey, and Iran. Film showings were followed by discussion sessions with cinema experts who volunteered their time to the program. Special thanks to Farouk Mustafa, Professional Lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, who served as discussion leader for the Arabic film festival, and to Louis Fishman, graduate student in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, who was the discussion leader for the Israeli Film Festival. Larry Wilson of Hillel helped organize the Israeli Festival. Mansooreh Saboori of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies worked on organizing the entire program. A documentary film-maker from Iran, Mansooreh also served as the discussion leader for the Iranian Film Festival.

Youth and Family Programs

Designed to attract and serve a broad and diverse audience, programs for children and families benefit greatly from the Museum Education Department's collaborations with many partners, both on campus and throughout the community. This past year, we joined with Lill Street Studio on the north side for our third annual presentation of Be an Ancient Egyptian Artist, a week-long day camp for children ages 8-12. As before, this popular program sold out almost as soon as it was announced.

The fall season began with our annual return to the 57th Street Children's Book Fair, where Docent Kathy Mineck, her daughter Kristina, and her son Carl used hieroglyphs to highlight reading and writing ancient Egyptian-style. During the winter we joined forces with the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Field Museum to present Ancient Animals, a day-long program that introduced children and parents to actual species or close relatives of animals that were part of everyday life thousands of years ago. Also in winter we invited Professor Paul Sipiera of Harper College to present Ancient Skywatchers, a program that gave families a glimpse of the night sky as seen through the eyes of ancient astronomers.

In May, Museum Education presented its most ambitious family event to date - close to 600 children, parents, and teachers came to Breasted Hall to attend three performances of Ancient Echoes: Tales From Egypt, a dazzling children's theater production created by the Wild Swan Theater Company of Ann Arbor, Michigan. An original production, Ancient Echoes retold the ancient Egyptian myth of Isis and Osiris in a presentation that featured live music, dancers, puppetry, and extraordinary masks. The numbers of people attending the play would have overwhelmed us without the helping hands of fifteen volunteers who assisted with ticket sales, ushering, and crowd control. Our special thanks to Millicent Buchanan, Patty Dunkel, Bettie Dwinell, Gabrielle DaSilva, Debby Halpern, Mary Harter, Lee Herbst, Mary Irons, Janet Kessler, Elizabeth Lassers, Nina Longley, Adrienne Runge, Bernadette Strnad, Mike Toffel, and Jane Thain.

Hailed as professional children's theater at its very best, the Wild Swan Company is renowned for theater experiences that are accessible to all audiences. For its Oriental Institute presentations, the cast integrated sign-language interpretation into every scene, making the entire play accessible to the hearing impaired. Audio-interpretation was also available for children who were blind or visually impaired. These special features encouraged funding organizations, as well as individual friends of the Oriental Institute, to offer their support for Ancient Echoes. Grants from the Midwest Arts Alliance's Heartland Arts Fund, supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts; the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; and the University of Chicago/Regents Park Fine Arts Partnership helped fund the presentation of the play. Generous donations from individuals also made Ancient Echoes possible. We gratefully thank Deborah Aliber, W. A. Boone, Nancy B. and Richard W. Baum, Muriel N. Brauer, Hazel Cramer, Bettie D. Dwinell, Barbara D. Frey, Anita Greenberg, Ernest A. Grunsfeld III, Cissy and Albert Haas, Mary Harter, Jane B. Hildebrand, Alice James, Samantha Johnson, George Junker, Mary Jo Khuri, Judy Licata, Masako Matsumoto, Georgianna Maynard, Denise G. Paul, JoAnn M. Putz, Lillian H. Schwartz, C. Lester Stermer, Marjorie G. Trosman, and Joyce Weil. All performances of Ancient Echoes honored the memory of Sally Grunsfeld, longtime Oriental Institute docent, friend, and supporter of Museum Education.

The Egyptian Gallery Reopens

While a full and varied schedule of educational activities has kept the museum in the public eye during closure, all of us in the Museum Education Office were counting the hours until we could share the Egyptian collection with visitors. For us, that opportunity came during two very special events - the preview opening for Oriental Institute members on Sunday 23 May, and Celebrating Ancient Egypt, a three-day festival from 29 to 31 May that opened the Egyptian Gallery to the public. On both of these grand occasions, Education staff and volunteers, along with guest lecturers and presenters, were delighted hosts to crowds of enthusiastic visitors.

All who attended the openings were invited to take part in an exciting round of activities. Artist Walter Arnold demonstrated stonecarving using tools much like those on view in the Egyptian Gallery. Hardy Schlick showed how the ancient Egyptians made pottery and then invited everyone to create their own ancient-style wares. Egyptology students Carolyn Cracraft and Jennifer Westerfeld wrote names in hieroglyphs for what seemed like an unending stream of visitors. Dressed in Egyptian-style costumes, actresses Liz Cruger and Elena Dodge (who doubles as a graduate student in Islamic Archaeology) fascinated visitors with tales about mummies. Children - and their parents - could play ancient Egyptian board games, don Egyptian-style clothing from "King Tut's Closet," or bring themselves good luck by creating a reproduction amulet. The latest in documentary films on ancient Egypt played continuously in Breasted Hall; Emily Teeter lectured on the installation of the gallery; John Foster, Oriental Institute Research Associate, gave a reading of ancient Egyptian love poetry; and Illinois State Treasurer Judy Barr Topinka, who has had a lifelong interest in ancient Egypt, stopped by to congratulate the museum on its reopening.

An exhausted but happy Museum Education crew closed the doors on 31 May after serving as hosts to a three-day total of 1,924 visitors. Once again, such numbers would have been overwhelming without the support of twenty-two volunteers who spent long hours involving families in hands-on activities or answering the countless questions posed by Egyptian Gallery visitors. Our gratitude to Jane Belcher, Rebecca Binkley, Wanda Bolton, Millicent Buchanan, David Covill, Hazel Cramer, Nancy Gould, Teresa Hintzke, Pat Hume, Janet Kessler, Henriette Klawans, Ethan Longhenry, Georgie Maynard, George Morgan, Donald Payne, Stephen Ritzel, Adrienne Runge, Lucie Sandel, Lillian Schwartz, Bernadette Strnad, Karen Terras, Mike Toffel, and Maureen Toner.

Just a few weeks after our opening, the museum was filled to capacity once again when the Oriental Institute Museum joined with the Smart Museum of Art and the Hyde Park Art Center to present Family Day, an annual event that had a special flair this year since it took place on Father's Day. The Sunday afternoon program encouraged many Hyde Park neighbors to make their first visit to the reopened museum - close to 500 people came through the Egyptian Gallery during the three hours of the event. Along with visiting the gallery, children could make an Egyptian-style crown for their dads, have their faces painted with Egyptian designs, create a drawing on papyrus, or produce a family portrait. The Hyde Park Co-op donated refreshments as a Fathers' Day gift to the community.

Behind the Scenes

While what seemed like a whirlwind of activities defined Museum Education's public presence this past year, things were equally active "behind the scenes." Last summer we received word that a long-awaited move was about to take place - by September the Museum Education staff had settled into Room 221, the former locale of the Museum Archives, which now has its own climate-controlled space in the new wing. Room 221 is actually a "suite," which means our space can be divided between the office and a new Conference Room and Docent Library. We're delighted with our new facilities, but we couldn't have moved without a lot of help. Special thanks to staff members Chuck Jones, John Larson, Randolph Olive, John Sanders, Joe Scott, Karen Wilson, and Anne Yanaway. Volunteers helped us, too. Many thanks to Todd Chavin, Mary and Richard Harter, Sandy Jacobsohn, Debbie Aliber, Daila Shefner, and Helaine Staver.

Even before moving into our new office, Education Department staff was hard at work meeting the demands of what would become one of our most exciting years. Two Education Programs Assistants were crucial to the implementation of all adult education programming in 1998/99. Emily Napolitano was Programs Assistant until December, when she received a well-deserved promotion to the position of Oriental Institute Membership Coordinator. While working for Museum Education, Emily supervised registration for all reserved programs, handled financial record keeping, assisted with graphic design, and provided general information services for the public, including the information that appears on the Museum Education page of the Oriental Institute's site on the World-Wide Web. Everyone in the Education Department appreciated Emily's efficiency and organizational skills, as well as her pleasant nature and genuine interest in educational services for the public. (Happily for us, Emily still occasionally assists with weekend programming, especially when the audience is young children - her favorite.)

Susy Giles became the Department's new Education Programs Assistant in February. A talented artist and arts educator, as well as an experienced office manager, Susy has become an invaluable member of the Education staff. All programming requiring registration would come to a grinding halt without her.

Much of the success of all our programs is due to the work of Judy Chavin, Education Programs Associate, who is our public relations officer, editor, and graphic design expert. Judy designs and supervises production of all our marketing and educational materials. This year, these included our quarterly calendars of events, adult education brochures, press packets for local newspapers, and the completely revised Docent Training Manual written byEmily Teeter. Judy's responsibilities also included developing a campaign of paid advertisements for a variety of community calendars and for selected local, regional, and national media. In addition, she kept careful watch for public events that would allow us to share information about our programs. This year, for the first time, we took part in Spotlight on Chicago, an annual event sponsored by the city of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs to showcase activities taking place at the city's cultural institutions. Judy is also serving as our liaison to Project Millennium, a year-long educational initiative, co-sponsored by 180 local and regional cultural institutions and museums. Designed to publicize the wide array of cultural opportunities available throughout the city and state, Project Millennium has introduced the museum's education programs to a broad range of new audiences.

Two interns generously donated their time to Museum Education during summer 1998, and each made lasting and important contributions. Danielle Sherrod interned with us for a second summer to complete a research project dear to her heart. An honors graduate student in anthropology from Harvard University, Danielle is also a talented dancer who came back to complete a research paper on ancient Egyptian dance. She hopes to present a dance program at the Oriental Institute based upon the outcomes of her research. Theresa Musacchio, an Egyptology student at Brown University, spent the summer working on a variety of projects. She provided invaluable assistance for the Be an Ancient Egyptian Artist day camp; she created a slide presentation that is a model for interactive learning with young children; and she developed an outline for a high school curriculum on ancient Egyptian literature.

Two extraordinarily talented, hardworking, and dedicated people deserve special mention here. Cathy Dueñas and Terry Friedman, the Oriental Institute's Volunteer Coordinators, along with their outstanding team of docents, were inspired by renovation to develop a hugely successful community outreach program that has the potential to enhance oureducational services for years to come. As you will see in the next section, this past year Cathy and Terry continued to supervise and expand the outreach program while simultaneously recruiting and training our entire corps of volunteers to offer programs and services in our newly renovated museum. Congratulations to Cathy and Terry for all that they have accomplished.

Looking back on all that has taken place during the past year, I would like to express my appreciation for all the expertise, support, and encouragement that Museum Education has received from the Oriental Institute's faculty, staff, and students. Special thanks to the Docents for their willing assistance at every turn. To Bud Haas, our gratitude for your friendship, wise advice, and never-failing supply of innovative ideas. Finally, I offer my heartfelt thanks once again to the Education Office staff, who faced a demanding year filled with long hours and many unforeseen challenges. You overcame them all with great creativity, doing so with remarkable courtesy and consideration for each other and for the public that we serve. Your achievements are the best assurance of the Museum Education program's continued success.

Revised: February 7, 2007

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