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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1997-98 Annual Report

The Museum Education Office


Carole Krucoff

As the renovation and expansion project went into its second year, closure of the galleries remained an ongoing challenge - and inspiration - for Museum Education. Faculty, staff, students, and volunteers gave us every assistance and encouragement as we continued to offer a broad range of educational services, both on site and throughout the community. Programs for adults and families kept Breasted Hall, the classrooms, and even the upstairs hallways filled with activity. Collaboration with old friends and new partners on campus and in the city and suburbs continued to expand our off-site services for the public. Finally, a special award for museum/school partnerships gave us state-wide recognition for our multi-year collaboration with the Chicago Public Schools.

School and Teacher Services

Two years ago, the Museum Education Office completed a three-year educational enrichment and outreach program designed to make Oriental Institute resources available to a wide ranging cross-section of underserved Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Supported by a major grant from the Polk Bros. Foundation, this program - entitled the Oriental institute/CPS Collaboration for the World History Curriculum - included teacher training, museum visits for students, collaborative development of curriculum materials by teachers and Museum Education staff, and school outreach visits by graduate students as well as Oriental Institute and community artists.

In August 1996, the Polk Bros. Foundation awarded Museum Education a new, two-year grant to sustain and expand the original collaboration, which now serves twenty-two Chicago Public Schools located throughout the city. The program is continuing to provide classroom visits by graduate students, who describe ways that the Oriental Institute learns about the ancient past, and by artists, who demonstrate and involve students in recreating ancient arts processes. This year's team of graduate student visitors included Tracy Alsberg, Joseph Daniels, Jill Ashley Fine, Nicole Hansen, Alexandra O'Brien, and Justine Way, while artists and epigraphers included Elizabeth Cruger, Debbie and John Darnell, Robert Gadomski, Douglas Irvine, Kate Luchini, Randolph Olive, Hardy Schlick, Jacquie Vaughn, and Jen Zaclin.

The classroom visitors are providing invaluable learning experiences that bring the ancient past to life in ways that are meaningful and memorable for students. We know this because the new grant has provided support for professional evaluation of the project's educational impact, a task undertaken over the past year by Jerome D'Agostino, who holds a Ph.D. in evaluation from the University of Chicago's Department of Education. Through interviews with teachers and principals, D'Agostino has learned that the Oriental Institute/CPS Collaboration has enhanced teachers' knowledge, skills, and confidence in their ability to teach about the ancient Near East; that the project's curriculum materials have effectively replaced the traditional classroom textbooks; that students' excitement and interest in learning about ancient civilizations has increased; and that standardized achievement test scores - the all-important measure for reform efforts in the Chicago Public Schools - have improved in partner teachers' classrooms. In his evaluation summary, D'Agostino concluded with certainty that "the program is a tremendous asset to the Chicago Public Schools."

Along with teachers and principals, two educational consultants have helped us to shape this program's educational impact. Sara Spurlark, Associate Director of the University of Chicago's Center for School Improvement, has been guiding us with her wise counsel since the program began, as did William Pattison, Associate Professor Emeritus in the University's Department of Education, until his death late last year. His contributions to the project were immeasurable and he is very much missed.

In addition to professional evaluation, the new grant from the Polk Bros. Foundation has allowed us to fill school needs that the original collaboration was not designed to meet. Thanks to Amanda Irwin, who holds a Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Chicago, and Richard Diaz, bilingual education teacher at Chicago's Eugene Field Elementary School, all of the student materials created by the Oriental Institute/CPS Collaboration have been translated into Spanish. This is especially important for a school system where more than 30% of the student population is Hispanic.

Ancient Arts Loan Boxes are another new component. An outgrowth of the classroom visitor program, these boxes will retain the hands-on ancient arts portion of the project when artists cannot visit the schools. Available for teachers to borrow and use in the classroom, the boxes highlight ancient Near Eastern metalsmithing and textile production. Both boxes contain videotapes of artists from the classroom visitor program who demonstrate their work as they speak at a level geared to the children viewing the tape. The loan boxes also contain reproduction artifacts the artists have created using the ancient processes shown in the video. Teacher guides with lesson plans and student activities complete the boxes, which will be important supplements to dwindling arts programming in the city's public schools.

Created in collaboration with an advisory panel of CPS teachers, the Ancient Arts Loan Boxes were produced by Carol Redmond, former coordinator of the Oriental Institute/CPS partnership, who now lives in Colorado. Thanks to the miracle of electronic communication, Carol's expertise as arts educator and video artist is still able to benefit the program that owes so much to her creativity and dedication.

The current coordinator of the Oriental Institute/CPS project is Anna Rochester, a talented artist and educator who has taken the collaboration into an entirely new area. Working with a second advisory panel of teachers, Anna is exploring use of the Oriental Institute's computer resources - its Virtual Museum and World-Wide Website - as a component of outreach education. John Sanders, Head of the Computer Laboratory, is guiding Anna in this pilot project, which has as its goal a web page of teacher and student resources to enhance the study of ancient civilizations not just in Chicago but throughout the nation and around the world.

Anna also supervises the day-to-day operation of the collaboration, which over the past two years has included partner school visits to the Smart Museum of Art, where exhibits from the Oriental Institute Museum collection have been on view. Oriental Institute docents have provided partner schools with guided tours at the Smart Museum, taking additional docent training on ways to relate Oriental Institute artifacts to objects from the Smart Museum collection. Karen L. Wilson, Oriental Institute Museum Director, Kathleen Gibbons, Smart Museum Education Director, and Jennifer Zitron, Smart Museum Education Programs Coordinator, all worked with Catherine Dueñas and Terry Friedman, Oriental Institute Volunteer Coordinators, to organize and present this year's Oriental Institute/Smart Museum docent training program. Special thanks to Debbie Aliber, Patricia Hume, Jo Lucas, Anne Schumacher, Bernadette Strnad, and Carol Yoshida, who served as docents, and to Rita Picken and Nina Longley, who served as docent co-captains.

This past year, the Oriental Institute Museum/CPS collaboration fulfilled another major goal by developing a structured system for partnership activities to endure into the future. Partner school principals have created the Oriental Institute Museum School Affiliates Program, which provides a modest annual subscription from each school budget to keep activities and services in operation. This unique venture is another indication of the program's success - principals feel it is so worthwhile that they are willing to pay for it.

In fall 1997, the Illinois Association of Museums presented the Oriental Institute Museum/CPS Collaboration with a Superior Achievement Award, the highest honor this state-wide organization can give. Such recognition is a tribute to the vision and dedication of all the teachers, principals, museum and Oriental Institute staff members, graduate students, artists, consultants - and Polk Bros. Foundation funders - who have been involved in this ground-breaking educational partnership.

Public Programs

A full schedule of familiar favorites and innovative new educational programs filled the 1997/98 calendar. Participation in adult education services rose to 1,140, an increase of 23% over last year, while programs for children and their families drew more than 2,600 participants to events held at the Oriental Institute and throughout the community.

Adult education programming this past year offered participants many choices: single-session seminars and symposia, both at the Institute and at other sites; field trips to locations throughout the city; multi-session courses held on campus, in the Loop, and in the suburbs; and a variety of classes offered by correspondence and over the Internet.

This year's symposia were first-time collaborations with other campus organizations. In the fall, Museum Education and the University's Graham School of General Studies joined together to present "Tutankhamun: New Perspectives on His Life and Legacy," a highly successful day-long symposium held in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. Peter F. Dorman, Associate Professor of Egyptology; John Larson, Oriental Institute Museum Archivist; Emily Teeter, Oriental Institute Associate Curator; and William J. Murnane, Prof. of History, University of Memphis, Tennessee, expanded horizons on the greatest archaeological event of the century with presentations on the history and excavation of the tomb, new evaluations of the findings, and ways the discovery still affects our lives today.

In the spring, we partnered with the Graham School and the University of Chicago Alumni Association to sponsor "Archaeology for the New Millennium," a day-long symposium held in Winnetka for University alumni and friends on the north shore. McGuire Gibson, Professor of Mesopotamian Archaeology; Stephen Harvey, Visiting Assistant Prof. of Egyptology; John Sanders, Research Associate and Head of the Computer Laboratory; Tony J. Wilkinson, Research Associate (Associate Professor); and K. Asl1han Yener, Associate Professor of Near Eastern Archeology fascinated the audience with ways the latest technologies are shedding light on the world's oldest civilizations.

"From Clay Tablets to CD-ROMs," a behind-the-scenes event hosted by faculty and staff of the Oriental Institute Dictionary Projects, attracted an overflow crowd of members and friends. Co-sponsored by Museum Education and the Membership Office, the program's presenters included Miguel Civil, Professor of Sumerology and Director of the Materials for a Sumerian Lexicon Project; Harry A. Hoffner, Jr., Professor of Hittitology, John A. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor of Oriental Studies, and Director and Editor-in-Charge of the Hittite Dictionary Project; Janet H. Johnson, Professor of Egyptology and Editor of the Demotic Dictionary Project; Martha T. Roth, Professor of Assyriology and Editor-in-Charge of the Assyrian Dictionary Project; and Thomas G. Urban, Senior Editor, Oriental Institute Publications. A handout of ancient idioms, a raffle of a Hittite Dictionary t-shirt, and signage giving ancient Near Eastern names to various rooms and locations throughout the Oriental Institute helped make this event even more interesting and entertaining. The creative team in charge of these special features included Research Associates Richard Beal, Hripsime Haroutunian, and Stephen Vinson, and graduate students Thomas Dousa, François Gaudard, Fumi Karahashi, and Michael Kozuh.

Field trips throughout the city attracted many registrants. "Egypt in Chicago," a one-day trip that offers insider's views on the city's three major collections of Egyptian art, sold out again - for the fifth time. John Larson, Oriental Institute Museum Archivist; Frank Yurco, consulting Egyptologist for the Field Museum of Natural History, 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. "Brewing Ancient Beer" took participants to the River West Brewing Company, where Professor Miguel Civil discussed how Sumerian beer was brewed 5,000 years ago and Brewmaster Udo Hartung compared ancient brewing methods with those of today. Everyone sampled River West's beers, enjoyed a "Brewmaster's Dinner," drank several toasts and sang several verses of song to Ninkaski, the Sumerian goddess of beer. Finally, for "Egyptomania Chicago-Style," Egyptologist Michael Berger led a day-long bus tour to explore how Egyptian art and design has influenced the look of architectural and historic sites throughout the city.

Even with closed galleries more informal adult education opportunities were not forgotten this year. Docents Carol Yoshida and Bernadette Strnad offered a series of gallery talks highlighting "In the Presence of the Gods: Art from Ancient Sumer," the Oriental Institute exhibit on view at the Smart Museum of Art. Emily Teeter presented "Mummies Meet High Tech: New Techniques for Investigating Egyptian Mummies," a Breasted Hall lecture in conjunction with Illinois Archaeology Awareness Week. Breasted Hall was also the place to come for our ongoing series of Sunday afternoon films, as well as "Ancient Egypt Goes Hollywood: The Sequel," our second series of film showings and seminar sessions, led by Michael Berger, to explore ways ancient Egypt has been depicted in the movies.

With classrooms available, renovation inspired - rather than inhibited - adult education courses as instructors continued to come forward with new ideas, formats, and approaches. "Pharaoh's Flowers" a single-session class led by Nicole Hansen, graduate student in Egyptology and Masako Matsumoto, floral arranger and Oriental Institute docent, introduced ways flowers and plants decorated ancient Egyptian homes and palaces, and then invited participants to make their own ancient Egyptian-style floral bouquets. In addition, our instructors offered a broad range of multi-session courses, including: "A Beginner's Guide to Ancient Egypt" taught by Alexandra O'Brien; "Land of Plenty: The Economy of Ancient Egypt," "Pyramids of Ancient Egypt and Nubia," and "Ancient Egyptian Law and Ethics Part I and Part II" by Frank Yurco; "History Begins at Sumer" by Claudia Suter; "The People of a Thousand Gods: Religion and Art of the Hittites" by Hripsime S. Haroutunian; "Dine Like an Egyptian" by Nicole Hansen and Mary Jo Khuri; and "Travel Photography" by Thomas Van Eynde.

Classes taught off site, by correspondence, and over the Internet continue to help us reach new audiences and expand adult education services. Off-site courses this year included "Judaism in the Time of Jesus," taught by Anthony J. Tomasino, which was our second collaboration with the First Lutheran Church of DeKalb, Illinois. "Art of Ancient Egypt," taught by Emily Teeter, was the first Oriental Institute course taught at the Gleacher Center, the University of Chicago's downtown location. Classes by correspondence and over the Internet continue to grow in popularity, as people from across the nation and around the world discover they can take part in Oriental Institute adult education without ever leaving home. This year, correspondence courses included "Hieroglyphs-by-Mail Part II," a more advanced version of the highly popular introductory course. Part II was taught by Stephen Vinson, with Hratch Papazian as teaching assistant. "Cuneiform-by- Mail" was taught by Daniel Nevez, and "Pyramids-by-Mail" was taught by Frank Yurco, who offered a new and very well-received feature - audio-taped lectures as well as written material and assignments.

For the second year in a row, Peter Piccione took adult education into cyberspace by presenting a revised and expanded version of "Introduction to Ancient Egypt," still the only course being taught over the Internet at the University of Chicago. This year's registrants came from every region of the United States as well as Argentina, Belgium, England, Italy, and South Africa.

Adult education services would come to a grinding halt without the skills, talents, and efficiency of Emily Napolitano, Education Programs Assistant. Emily supervises registration for all reserved programs, handles all financial record-keeping, assists with graphic design, and provides general information services to the public. This past year Emily ably redesigned and repackaged the entire Museum Education collection of slides and reproduction artifacts that go out on loan to schools and community groups. Her experience in working with young children also gave her a major role in the youth and family programs we offered at the Oriental Institute and throughout the city.

Collaboration with cultural institutions all across Chicago has enabled us to continue providing extensive programming for children and their families, a major museum audience that the Education Office was serving long before the galleries closed for renovation. Lill Street Studios on the city's north side welcomed us for several collaborative programs, including repeats of "Be An Ancient Egyptian Artist," the popular children's summer day camp, and "Mummy Dearest," a clay workshop for families. Anna Rochester traveled to Lill Street Studios to present "Ancient Earth," a new pottery and planting workshop for children.

Anna also lent her artistic talents and teaching skills to Parks Partners, our major summer outreach program for children and families. Supported by a grant from the Chicago Park District, this program took us to public parks throughout the city, where we used hands-on activities to introduce hundreds of young people and their families to the fascinating world of the ancient Near East. Anna was ably assisted by Elizabeth Cruger, Lisa Dorneker, and Danielle Sherrod, our summer interns. Danielle also began a research project focusing on ancient Egyptian dance, which she hopes will result in programming for next year.

Once again we joined the Smart Museum of Art and the Hyde Park Art Center for the annual summer "Family Day." We concentrated once more on reading and writing, ancient-Egyptian style, at the 57th Street Children's Book Fair and the annual Book-a-Mania event at the Harold Washington Public Library. But this year we also brought family programming home with three events here at the Oriental Institute. "Tut's Treasures" celebrated the discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb by inviting families to create their own version of the king's golden headdress and then have their photographs taken dressed in pharaoh-finery. "Mummy Magic" offered the opportunity to create an ancient Egyptian amulet just like those that were used to protect ancient Egyptian mummies. And "Aesop's Fables" brought professional children's theater to Breasted Hall when Chicago's Raven Theater Company captivated children and adults alike with their spirited updating of the ancient storyteller's tales.

Much of the success of all our programming was due to Kaylin Goldstein, Education Programs Associate, who has been our public relations officer, editor, and graphic design expert for nearly six years. Kaylin developed formats and supervised production for all of our marketing materials, including quarterly calendars of events, adult education brochures, and quarterly press packets. She supervised the Museum Education page on the Oriental Institute's World-Wide Website, where a program descriptions and a registration form attract people to enroll by electronic mail. This year Kaylin initiated our first paid advertising campaign in local newspapers, which attracted adults and families to programs at the Oriental Institute. She also placed advertisements in national publications, such as Kemet and Archaeology Magazine, which drew regional and national registrants for correspondence and Internet classes. She kept careful watch for city-wide events that would allow us to share information about our programs. This year, Anna Rochester and Jane Thain, museum volunteer, took part in a full day of public presentations on the Oriental Institute at the Visual Arts Information Fair, which was sponsored by the Illinois Arts Council, the Illinois Artisans Program, and the Illinois Art Gallery.

A multi-talented young woman, Kaylin is also a Ph.D. candidate in the University's Department of Anthropology and this spring she left the Oriental Institute to pursue her dissertation studies in Israel. We will miss her intelligence, patience, and good judgment; her design skills and delightful way with words; and her genuine interest in the many ways museums can provide meaningful educational experiences.

In May, Judy Chavin assumed the position of Education Programs Associate, bringing extensive public relations, graphic design, and museum education experience to our office. It is a pleasure to have Judy with us.

Looking Back ... and Ahead

Taking stock of all that has been accomplished during this past year and throughout renovation, I would like to express once more how much I appreciate the encouragement and support we have received from faculty, staff, students, and volunteers. And another group of people deserve special thanks here. You will see in the next section how renovation has inspired Catherine Dueñas and Terry Friedman, the Oriental Institute's Volunteer Coordinators, and their remarkable team of docents, to create an enormously successful Volunteer Outreach Program that promises to enhance the museum's educational services for many years to come. Finally, I would like to say again how much I admire and gratefully thank the Museum Education staff for their long working hours, selfless service, great good nature, and extraordinary creativity. Nothing would be happening without them. All of us are looking forward to the reopening of the museum's galleries, where we will continue in our efforts to provide the very best in Museum Education programming for our members, the University community, and the general public.

Revised: February 7, 2007

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