UNIQUE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING AND EVENTS: A TRIBUTE TO THE MUSEUM COUNCIL’S DEDICATION AND COMMITMENT

by leslierankowfinearts

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WHEN THE GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT, DANIEL MALLOY, BEGAN A TOUR  OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY  TO PROMOTE TOURISM IN THE STATE, HIS FIRST STOP WAS THE BRUCE MUSEUM IN GREENWICH.  SINCE THE BRUCE MUSEUM REPRESENTS SO MANY OF THE CULTURAL AND EDUCATIONAL ADVANTAGES THAT THE STATE OFFERS, IT WAS A NATURAL FIRST PORT OF CALL SINCE HIS PURPOSE WAS TO HIGHLIGHT SOME OF THE GREAT LOCATIONS TO VISIT THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

AT THE MUSEUM, GOVERNOR MALLOY SAW A NUMBER OF EXHIBITIONS THAT RANGED FROM SCIENCE AND ECOLOGICAL ISSUES TO AMERICAN IMPRESSIONIST WORKS OF ART. FOR THOSE WHO LIVE IN THE COMMUNITY, THE BRUCE PROVIDES ANOTHER VERY DISTINCT ADVANTAGE- A DIVERSITY OF PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS ALIKE THAT ENCOURAGE NOT ONLY THE OCCASIONAL VISIT BUT A COMMITMENT OF TIME AND PARTICIPATION THAT TRULY EDUCATES AND ENRICHES THOSE WHO PARTICIPATE.  THANKS TO THE GENEROSITY OF TRUSTEE AUNDREA AMINE, AND THE MUSEUM STAFF OF THE BRUCE,  WE CAN REVIEW WHAT IS AVAILABLE FOR OUR ENTERTAINMENT, ENJOYMENT AND ENRICHMENT AT THE BRUCE.

AUNDREA, WHAT ARE THE VARIOUS WAYS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE MUSEUM’S PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES?  WHAT ARE THE COUNCILS THAT ONE COULD POTENTIALLY JOIN?

The Bruce Museum has a robust membership program that offers something for everyone, ranging from student, family and senior memberships to higher level memberships offering greater variety of art and science related activities.  Membership at any level allows for access to multiple art and science museums throughout the area, including the Intrepid: Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York, Wave Hill, and seven other area institutions that art part of the Fairfield Westchester Museum Alliance. The Robert Bruce Circle is the upper level membership program offered at the Museum and can be joined at any time. There are educational as well as social opportunities for greater involvement at the Museum. Off-site art and science-related events are offered to Bruce Circle members.

The Museum Council and the Collectors Council are by-invitation Councils and have one-year dues. The Museum encourages anyone interested in learning more about Council opportunities to find out more by viewing the website or contacting the Development department.

IN MY EXPERIENCE, THE SUPPORT OF A MUSEUM COMES IN MANY DIFFERENT FORMS INCLUDING PLANNED GIVING AND GIFTS IN HONOR OR MEMORY OF A LOVED ONE. WHAT ARE THE WAYS TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE BRUCE?

In addition to the Membership Program and Councils,  there are multiple ways to support the Bruce Museum’s mission.  Planned Giving, gifts of objects to the art and science collections, gifts in honor or memory of a family member or friend, support of the Annual Fund that provides crucial general operating support, attending museum programs and special events held throughout the year – all of these are essential sources of revenue that support the Museum’s operations. One of the easiest ways to contribute and to get involved is to join as a member and there are certainly many Committees of volunteers who help support the Bruce Staff in executing the Museum’s mission.

WHAT PLANS DOES THE BRUCE HAVE  TO FURTHER ENRICH THE MUSEUM AND THE COMMUNITY IT SERVES?

The Bruce continues to explore ways to enhance public programming. The richness of offerings is quite remarkable given the limited space. But given those restraints and the desire to serve the community, lecture programs and family events are frequently planned in the evenings and weekends at the Museum. There is a full schedule of educational programs all summer at the Seaside Center and the two Brucemobiles are active in regional schools.

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Education Programs at the Bruce Museum

School Programs at the Museum

During the course of a typical school year, approximately 5,000 school children from pre-kindergarten through high school attend an art or science program at the Museum. School programs are inquiry-based, promote critical thinking, written and oral expression and correlate to STEM standards and school curricula. Museum Education staff and/or highly trained Docents teach all programs.

Neighborhood Collaborative After School Programs

The Neighborhood Collaborative is an after school, grant-funded and endowed program that serves at-risk students from pre-kindergarten to middle school. The program is organized around the principle that multiple visits to the Museum promote positive museum experiences and create lifelong museum visitors. Provided are bus transportation for community center and after-school groups to make four consecutive visits to the Museum, the curriculum, instructors, materials and refreshments. The fund also pays the salaries of the high-school student Junior Educators that lead the programs for elementary students. There are 10 Jr. Educators this year, and the Neighborhood Collaborative Program serves approximately 750 students annually.

Education Outreach – The Brucemobile

The Museum’s outreach program takes our educational programs to schools from Yonkers to Westport, particularly those schools for which transportation costs make visiting the Museum prohibitive. The same object-based educational approach used with museum-based classes is used by the professional Outreach Instructors. Each in-classroom program features objects, artifacts and hands-on activities that relate directly to STEM and school curricula. Two hybrid Toyota Highlanders serve as the official Brucemobile vehicles in the Museum’s efforts to be as environmentally conscious as possible.

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Family Days

Family event days offer a variety of activities including museum exploration activities that involve the parents and children teaming up to discover the highlighted exhibition; hands-on crafts or science projects for students that reinforce concepts presented in the exhibition; and entertainment or performances such as a children’s theater, concerts, dance, live animal or science demonstrations related to the day’s theme. The Museum presents six to eight Family Days annually. This year’s most popular family days were Olympic Games Family Day, the Museum’s 18th annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the annual Astronomy Day, and Dinosaurs Family Day. Additionally this year there have been three Diane W. Darst Family Art Appreciation Lectures, which promote the appreciation and understanding of art for parents and their children through lessons and art-making activities. This innovative program was established in memory of Diane W. Darst.

Adult Education Programs

The education department provides a variety of programs and events to enhance and complement museum exhibitions for our sophisticated and interested adult audience. The Museum features lectures by art historians, historians, and scientists through the Monday Art History Lecture Series, the Science Lecture Series, Sunday afternoon and evening lectures and panel discussions.

Adult Docent Program

The level of excellence in the Museum’s school and adult tour programming could not be maintained without a capable corps of dedicated volunteer docents. Moreover, the museum experience for a large segment of our audience depends on the quality of their docent-led tour or class. Consequently docent selection, training and evaluation are of primary importance. The Education Department currently has an excellent corps of 55 active docents who train regularly with Education Department staff on exhibition themes, museum education theory and touring strategies.

Programs for Teachers

An essential aspect of School Services is keeping teachers informed about Museum opportunities. To this end the department offers exhibition previews featuring staff-led tours and specialized workshops focusing on themes relating to the Museum’s changing exhibitions. Teacher Previews were held in conjunction with the exhibitions Face & Figure: The Sculpture of Gaston Lachaise, Extreme Habitats: Living Desert Dry, Let It Snow! Children’s Book Art, Chinasaurs: Dinosaur Discoveries from China, and Lure of the Oceans: The Art of Stanley Meltzoff.

Volunteer Program

Annually the Museum maintains a corps of approximately 400 volunteers drawn from the Museum’s membership and the community. Volunteers work in all departments of the Bruce Museum as Docents, Seaside Center Educators, Museum Store clerks, Museum Ambassadors, Museum curatorial, collections, membership and special events assistants. Each year our volunteers are saluted at the annual winter Volunteer Awards Luncheon.

Youth@Bruce

The Youth Committee is a student group designed to elevate the experience of high school volunteers at the Museum by providing teens with job skills and a visible role in the Museum. Each year the Youth@Bruce committee organizes, funds and promotes the iCreate! Teen Art exhibition held in the Bantle Lecture Gallery each June. This juried exhibition features fine art created by high school students and is currently on view at the Museum until July 7, 2013. Now in its third year, iCreate! has established itself as one of the most sought after art shows for students in the region with over 300 submissions.

MANY THANKS TO AUNDREA AND TO THE STAFF AT THE BRUCE FOR ENLIGHTENING US ON THE MULTITUDE OF WAYS TO BE INVOLVED. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR LOCAL MUSEUMS, I HOPE THERE ARE SOME IDEAS THAT WILL BE HELPFUL. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WANT A WONDERFUL DAY IN CONNECTICUT, INCLUDE A VISIT TO THE BRUCE AS A PRIORITY.

 Information about the Bruce Museum provided by the staff.

Senior Staff:

Peter C. Sutton, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer

Susan Ball, Deputy Director

Jack Coyle, Registrar

Troy Ellen Dixon, Director of Marketing and Communications

Robin Garr, Director of Education

Gina Gould, Curator of Science

Greg Hollop, Director of Finance

Whitney Lucas Rosenberg, Associate Director of Development

Anne von Stuelpnagel, Director of Exhibitions

Liz Wooster, Director of Institutional Advancement

I AM A BIG FAN OF FLAWLESS- WHETHER IT IS THE PERFECT TAGLI IN THE BRILLIANT VERMILION  FONTANA AT  THE MENIL  OR THE CREAMY RICHNESS OF LUC TUYMAN’S PALETTE.

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CLOSER TO HOME, MINAGAWA ART LINES  PROVIDES “FLAWLESS” IN ITS APPROACH TO CONTEMPORARY FRAMING.  IN THE NEXT LRFA BLOG, WE WILL HAVE THE PLEASURE OF EXPLORING THE VERY REFINED SENSIBILITY OF YASUO MINAGAWA, OWNER AND PRINCIPAL, WHO STEERS A VERY EXACTING COURSE IN THE ART OF FRAMING.

I LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS AND APPRECIATE YOUR TAKING THE TIME TO FOLLOW THE BLOG!