Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Young Curators: 100 Easy Lessons

Traditionally, curators hold higher academic degrees in their subject. Either a Doctor of Philosophy or a Master's degree in subjects such as History, History of Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, or the Classics. So, how do you introduce children to the world of artifacts, the world where an objects worth is recognized and preserved? 

The following lesson plan takes you through 100 days of objects, courtesy of BBC's "A History of the World", The British Museum, and Nomadic Education


In this lesson, students investigate the history of human ingenuity by becoming curators. Employing critical thinking skills, students are introduced to 100 objects and their respective histories. 

Students are asked to demonstrate understanding of the objects in a variety of projects, ultimately learning how to organize a collection around a theme. 

The final project is 100 museum-style exhibitions (in blog or in video format; or in some other tangible, artistic creation), in which they present their findings about these objects to the world. 

The final field trip on this activity is to visit each piece in person, which is why I chose the 100 pieces at the British Museum, whose theme is "A History of the World" as seen via artifacts (manmade objects). 

This lesson plan can be adapted in conjunction with a local museum in your geographical area if you are not in Europe or do have have the means to visit the British Museum. Of course, for those who are interested in following along in this lesson, this lesson serves as a virtual way of exploring significant pieces that echo or mirror the history of human ingenuity, as seen by the British Museum. 

You can also follow BBC and The British Museum's "A History of the World" on Facebook. This is where we will be sharing links to our explorations, individualized lesson plans, and projects as they relate to BBC and the British Museum's partnership whereby world history is told through objects of worth. 

Ann Willmott Andersson


Students will: 

  • Write a theme statement for a collection, creating patterns of meaning among diverse objects
  • Research information about and write descriptions of artifacts
  • Understand the job of a museum curator
  • Learn how to reach a consensus on the objects to be included or left out of the TOP 10 Collection
  • Produce a museum-style exhibition

Art Connections from CNAEA: National Standards for Arts Education

  • Understands characteristics of works in various art forms that share similar subject matter, historical periods, or cultural context
  • Understands the characteristics and presentation of characters, environments, and actions in the various art forms
  • Knows how various concepts and principles are used in the arts and disciplines outside the arts (e.g., balance, shape, pattern)
Visual Arts from CNAEA: National Standards for Arts Education

  • Understands the historical and cultural contexts of a variety of art objects
Language Arts from New Standards: High School
  • Uses research strategies for different purposes
  • Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media
  • Uses visual media to present interpretations to the global community 
Life Skills: Thinking and Reasoning from NCHS: National Standards for History: Basic Edition 
  • Effectively uses mental processes that are based on identifying similarities and differences
Life Skills: Thinking and Reasoning from NCHS: National Standards for Social Studies
  • Applies decision-making techniques
Life Skills: Create compelling Visual Displays of Information: NS: Nomadic Standard: Cross-subject Integration
  • Create a blog entry, video diary (published on YouTube), digital art showing, or other type of work demonstrating understanding of each object and how it relates to the history of human ingenuity

English Language Arts - Language for Information and Understanding

Listening, researching, and reading to acquire information and understanding involving collecting data, facts, and ideas; discovering relationships, concepts, and generalizations; and using knowledge from oral, written, and electronic sources. Students: 

  • Compare and synthesize information from different sources
  • Use a wide variety of strategies for selecting, organizing, and categorizing information
  • Distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information and between fact and opinion
Helpful Links: 

BBC Radio 4 (on YouTube)



(to be posted) 

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