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Found 299 Collections

 

Communication with the spiritual in ancient to modern art

This collection will examine examples of art as a form of communication between the human and spiritual worlds. These forms of communication may include examples of direct communication — in which an individual or group uses art to speak to and influence the spiritual world — as well as examples that serve to document practices, beliefs, and the place of spiritual practices in society at large.

The form and focus of these communications expressed through art can help to explain the values of particular cultures or individuals, or may serve to question or enforce certain cultural beliefs. This type of art may be the expression of the needs of a social group or culture, such as prehistoric cave paintings that might have functioned in rituals to ensure successful hunts or plentiful game. It may serve to enforce a political agenda such as the Law Code of Hammurabi. Or it may express an individual's personal interpretation and experience of spirituality such as the illustrated poetry of William Blake. However, form does not always imply the expected function: the 19th century English painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti sometimes drew on religious subjects or themes and much of his work has a mysterious and mystical atmosphere. Yet Rossetti, describing his spiritual beliefs, called himself an “art Catholic,” implying that if he engaged in a spiritual dialog through his art, it was with art itself (Faxon, 1989).

This collection will look at examples from the prehistoric era through the early 20th century. These examples help to contextualize the inner lives of individuals, and the collective inner life of the cultures, their environments, wants, needs, and values, to foster a greater appreciation of and respect for these peoples and cultures.

Although there is only limited firm evidence of the purpose of cave art found at sites such as Lascaux, Chauvet, and Les Trois-Frères, scholars generally agree that it served some religious purpose. Various theories have been proposed to provide more specific explanations. Cave art, particularly Paleolithic cave art, depicts almost exclusively animals. Hunting was crucial to the survival of early humans, and it is possible that the images were created as part of hunting rituals. Images of animals superimposed over each other many have represented fertility rituals aimed at increasing the amount of game animals. Some images appear to have been deliberately scratched or gouged with spearheads — in some cases blood was painted flowing from these wounds — suggesting that the images may have been intended as a type of sympathetic magic giving hunters power over and protection from large and dangerous animals (Benton & DiYanni, 2012).

Other images are less easy to explain and have given rise to controversial theories such as the bird-faced human figure in the Lascaux Shaft Scene, that combine elements of humans with other animals in a single figure. The Shaft Scene appears to describe a narrative although the exact meaning is not completely clear. A wounded bison stands ready to charge; the animals intestines appear to be pouring out of its abdomen and a spear is shown near its hindquarters. In front of the bison is a stick figure human with a bird's face. The human figure appears to have fallen or been knocked over. Just below this odd figure is a line topped by a bird, perhaps an object belonging to the bird-faced man. This figure and others that combine humans and other animals into one figure such as The Sorcerer in Les Trois-Freres may document early humans' mythology, and could suggest the origins of certain beliefs and practices (Curtis, 2006).

The meaning of the Law Code of Hammurabi is less ambiguous — the spiritual and the legal/political aspects of the culture are united. The stele dates to approximately 1760 BCE and is divided into two sections. The lower section, which takes up the majority of the stele, consists of the code of laws in effect at the time. The relief at the top depicts the Babylonian king Hammurabi receiving the laws from the god Shamash. The implication is clear: the law itself is a religious document and the social rules it describes are the will of the gods — and Hammurabi whose authority is bolstered by the approval of the gods (Benton & DiYanni, 2012).

The spiritual is not always a numinous experience in a cave. Some early laws and social codes were framed as divine communications that enforce social norms and rules — even now, witnesses in courts are generally sworn in by placing their hand on a Bible. Communication with the spiritual in examples such as the Law Code of Hammurabi is aimed at establishing and enforcing order and lending it a weight of legitimacy. It is as critical for the members of an urban culture, such as Babylon, to abide by rules to maintain peace with their neighbors as it was for the Paleolithic peoples to ensure successful hunts. And, kings such as Hammurabi believed it was critical to protect their power. By aligning themselves with gods, they could borrow some of the gods' power in the minds of the people and make rebellion or betrayal a kind of sacrilege. Hammurabi, in fact, was declared a god in his own lifetime (Van De Mieroop, 2005).

Music may also function as a form of communication between gods and humans. In pharaonic Egypt, religious festivals appear to have prominently involved music and dance. Music may have been used in religious rituals to communicate with the gods, invoke deities, or as a medium to transmit offerings. Some instruments were associated with specific deities: the sistrum with Hathor and Isis and the tambourine with Bes. Sistrums may have been played during rituals associated with Hathor to invoke her — and to placate her. Although images of deities playing musical instruments are relatively rare in Egyptian art, Bes is frequently depicted dancing and playing a tambourine. Unlike the other gods, Bes used music to communicate with humans. Bes was associated with the home and family — the front rooms of Egyptian homes appear to have contained shrines to Bes — and he remained a popular deity among the people throughout Egypt's history. Bes was believed to protect people, particularly women in childbirth, by playing music to frighten away evil spirits. Amulets of Bes dancing and playing a tambourine appear to have been a common type of protective amulet worn around the neck. It is worth noting that depictions of Bes differ markedly from depictions of most other Egyptian deities: he is represented in lively motion. In contrast to the image of Egyptian religion based primarily on royal tombs and, therefore, focused on death and the elite members of society, Bes was closely tied to life and the lives of common people (Simmance, n.d.).

Composed by the poet Valmiki in India the fifth century BCE, the Rāmāyana relates the deeds and adventures of Rama, an avatar of Vishnu. According to J. L. Brockington, in Indian tradition the Rāmāyana is designated the ādikāvya, which may be translated as “the first poetic work,” and is regularly referred to as being sung as opposed to spoken in contrast to the Mahābhārata. In one version of the framework story introducing the Rāmāyana, Rama is described as the perfect human being. His behavior is therefore worth emulating, and it is likely that as early as the first millennium BCE that was in a sense being done literally through plays and dances reenacting the story (Brockington, 1998). In that sense, the Rāmāyana represents a complex, evolving dialog, a lived experience of both artistic and spiritual expression.

Euripides' tragic drama The Bacchae is another example of theater acting as a complex dialog between the human and the spiritual worlds. The plot of The Bacchae revolves around the arrival of the god Dionysos in the city of Thebes where his ecstatic worship is opposed by Pentheus, the king of Thebes. As Segal writes, the play is morally ambiguous and may have been designed to implicate the audience in the action. Although Dionysos is a disturbance to Thebes, Pentheus' response is heavy-handed and unsympathetic. However, as the drama unfolds, the audience that may have been rooting for Dionysos is confronted with a climax that sees the god orchestra Pentheus' gruesome death. It is important to note that Dionysos was a well-established and liked god in Athens and that Classical Greek drama was written to be performed during annual festivals in Dionysos' honor. As Vellacott writes, during the festival a statue of Dionysos was brought from a shrine to the amphitheater to watch the plays. As Segal notes, it is unlikely that the play is meant to be critical of Dionysos (his actual worship was much more restrained than depicted in the play or the myths it was based on) but its presentation, at a fundamentally religious festival with the god literally in the audience, could not but have sparked another dialog within the audience, a reflection on their relationship to the god and the sometimes overwhelming forces he represents.

The Temple of Isis at Pompeii declares both the strength of her worshipers' belief and the endurance of her cult in the face of repeated official sanctions. The temple was damaged in an earthquake in 62 AD but was rebuilt by the time of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD; in fact, it was the only civic building in that area of Pompeii that had been completely rebuilt (Hackworth, 2006). The apparent preference for a foreign goddess in a Roman city is all the more significant in light of imperial persecutions and prohibitions against her worship dating back to Augustus and coming to a head in 19 CE when Emperor Tiberius exiled thousands of freedmen who were adherents of the religion (Heyob, 1975). However, the cult of Isis continued to flourish. By the time of Pompeii's destruction, her worship appears to have included individuals from all classes of society, from members of the imperial family and municipal officials to freedmen and slaves (Takacs, 1995). The remains of the temple can still be seen on the original site and at the nearby Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Although Egyptian decoration was incorporated in the design of the temple and cult objects, the plan of the building and the style of the frescoes was Roman (Moorman, 2011). The navigium Isidis fresco appears to show a distinctly Egyptian scene, Isis resurrecting her husband-brother Osiris, but in a purely Roman style. The Pompeiian worshipers of Isis were part of Roman culture but may have been seeking an opportunity to engage in personally meaningful spiritual communication outside of the state-sectioned venues and deified emperors (Hackworth, 2006).

References

Benton, J. R. & DiYanni, R. (2012). Arts and culture: An introduction to the humanities. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Brockington, J. (1998). The Sanskrit epics. Boston: Brill.

Curtis, G. B. (2006). The cave painters: Probing the mysteries of the world's first artists. (2006). New York: Knopf.

Faxon, A. C. (1989). Dante Gabriel Rossetti. New York: Abbeville Press.

Hackworth, P., L. (2006). The freedman in Roman art and art history. Oxford: Cambridge University Press.

Heyob, S. K. (1975). The cult of Isis among women in the Graeco-Roman world. Leiden: E. J. Brill.

Moorman, E., M. (2011). Divine interiors: Mural paintings in Greek and Roman sanctuaries. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press.

Segal, C. (2001). Introduction. In Euripides, Bakkai (3-32). New York: Oxford University Press.

Simmance, E. (n.d.) Communication through music in ancient Egyptian religion. University of Birmingham. Retrieved 2/4/2019 from https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/connections/Essays/ESimmance.aspx.

Takacs, S., A. (1995). Isis and Sarapis in the Roman world. Leiden: E. J. Brill.

Van De Mieroop, M. (2005). King Hammurabi of babylon: A biography. Hoboken: Blackwell Publishing.

Vellacott, P. (1959). Introduction. In Aeschylus, The Orestian trilogy (9-40). New York: Penguin.

#AHMC2019

Nicole Votta
8
 

Mythology--Professor Gillan

This collection is intended to be used in a Mythology class. Designed for a 100 level mythology course. The assignments here are classroom specific. They are modifiable to fit any style of classroom, and address a diverse group of learners.

Jamie Gillan
30
 

SSYAC 2018/2019 Meeting 1 - National Air and Space Museum

The first meeting of the third cohort of the SSYAC (2018-2019) will be held at the National Air and Space Museum on October 24, 2018. The meeting will be out of this world.  We'll begin by playing a "break-out box" game in the Moving Beyond Earth gallery. Can you help Dr. Skorton solve the space history clues to UNLOCK the mysteries of the universe? OR will we be lost in space? Next, we'll meet Dr. Ellen Stofan, Director (and Scientist), National Air and Space Museum (NASM). We'll hear about plans to renovate the museum--and what it takes to be the world's most visited museum. Next, since it's our very first meeting of the new SSYAC year, we'll take a moment to greet friends--both old and new. Secretary Skorton will discuss this year's SSYAC agenda, and answer some of the questions that you posed to him in your applications. Finally, we'll take a group photo. If you have any questions--do not hesitate to reach out to Tracie Spinale, tspinale(AT)si.edu or your Affiliate Coordinator. 

Tracie Spinale
18
 

SSYAC 2018/2019 Meeting 2 - Smithsonian American Art Museum

The second meeting of the third cohort of the SSYAC (2018-2019) will be held at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on November 19, 2018. 

We'll meet Stephanie Stebich, Director, SAAM and Renwick Gallery.  We'll hear about the history and function of the museum, and think about the role of science in the preservation of art. We'll visit behind-the-scenes at the Lunder Center for Conservation, where Amber Kerr, Chief of Conservation, will share her innovative research using infrared reflectography and ultraviolet-induced luminescence on the paintings of DC-artist Alma Thomas. Ms. Kerr will also talk to the group about the conservation of plastics which make-up the Renwick's Game Fish sculpture.

Our dialogue with the Secretary will focus on: 

 In today’s world, what are your concerns—both national and at a local community level? How can a cultural institution like the Smithsonian help to address those issues? 

Tracie Spinale
13
 

SSYAC 2018/2019 Meeting 3 - Smithsonian Institution Libraries - Cullman Natural History (Rare Books)

Leslie Overstreet, Rare Books Curator provides an overview of the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History—its significance and purpose. We'll view up to ten rare books, and Leslie will provide an overview of their significance, focusing on how art books in this library support scientific research—not just for the natural history museum scientists, but for the entire field of natural history. A discussion with the Secretary follows:

  • What role do libraries have today—how has it changed? (SIL mission to save and share our stories for future generations) 
  • Are public libraries still relevant to teens? What about high school libraries?
  • How are libraries adapting themselves to be relevant to youth and teens in a digital world?
    Sara Cardello will share examples of youth engagement through the Unstacked Museum in a Box interactive, and Chaptour Guides Program. 
Tracie Spinale
46
 

"Explore with Smithsonian Experts" Film Series

This video series, Explore with Smithsonian Experts, connects students and teachers with the skill and technique of Smithsonian experts who describe their work at our nation's museums. In each short film, experts introduce new ways to observe, record, research and share, while using real artifacts and work experiences.

Keywords: entomology, arthropod, insects, beetles, ants, scientific method, verification, President Abraham Lincoln, March on Washington, The Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur Wright, flight, astrophotography, cosmos, astronomy, abstract art, El Anatsui, portraits, portraiture, President George Washington, Gertrude Stein, Gordon, Pocahontas, LL Cool J, Kehinde Wiley, Nicholasa Mohr, Dolores Huerta, Puerto Rico, Luis Muñoz Marín, Rudolfo Anaya, urban photography, Shifting States: Iraq, Luis Cruz Azaceta, choreography, dance, Japanese American incarceration (internment) camps, World War II, Queen Kapi'olani, Hawaii, diplomacy

Ashley Naranjo
36
 

Exploring the Amazing World of Lichens

This collection supports the free Smithsonian Science How webcast, Exploring the Amazing World of Lichens featuring Dr. Manuela Dal Forno, scheduled for March 28, 2019. Manu is a scientist at the Smithsonian who studies lichens, a lichenologist. She collects lichens from all over the world, depositing them into the U.S. National Herbarium, which is located at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Manu identifies the lichens she collects with observations of how the lichen looks, their DNA data and where they were found.

Lichens are a symbiotic relationship between algae and fungus. They have been on earth for millions of years, living on rocks, trees, and soil in all different habitats on all seven continents. Even though lichens are all around us, scientists are still learning about what they are, where they live, and how many different species of lichens there are.

Fungus is any group of spore-producing organisms feeding on organic matter, and include molds, yeast, mushrooms, and toadstools. Algae is a simple, non-flowering plant. Algae contain chlorophyll and produce sugar through photosynthesis, like other plants, but do not have true stems, roots, leaves, or vascular tissue like most other plants. Lichenization is a fungal lifestyle, and therefore the name of lichen is the name of the fungus component.

When you look at a lichen, what you’re looking at is the “house” that the fungus and algae grow together. Scientists call this house a “thallus.” When algae and fungus come together to form this house, we see a lichen. This partnership is called a symbiotic relationship, because it helps both the fungus and algae survive. Research has shown that lichens are not a natural biological group, meaning they do not all come from a single common ancestor, in other words, lichens have many origins. Currently there are almost 20,000 species of lichenized fungi known.

In this symbiotic relationship, the fungus and algae benefit from being associated with each other. The fungus provides the house, its shelter (the thallus). This shelter helps the algae survive in habitats where it would otherwise be exposed to the elements and possibly could not survive. The algae provide food for the fungus, in the form of sugar. The sugar is a byproduct of photosynthesis that occurs within the algae.

Lichens are very important for the environment. They are an important food source for many animals, provide nest materials for birds, and provide habitat and material for biomimicry for insects and other organisms.

Lichens are also important for humans by providing natural dyes, perfumes, litmus paper, and even food. Humans even use lichens as bio-indicators, organisms that help humans monitor the health of the environment. Some species of lichens are sensitive to environmental pollution, so their presence or absence can help us understand more about the health of the environment, like air quality. 

Lichens produce over one thousand different chemical compounds, most of them unique to lichens. These compounds include acids and pigments. Some chemicals may even fluoresce under UV light, making them important components for lichen identification.

Lichens have DNA, which is used to identify lichen and compare relationships amongst and within species. DNA analysis has been an important tool for lichenologists in identifying and understanding the biodiversity of lichens.


Sign up for the Smithsonian Science How webcast to introduce your students to Lichenologist Manuela Dal Forno! The program airs at 11am and 2pm on March 28, 2019. Sign up and view the program here: https://naturalhistory.si.edu/...  

Maggy Benson
22
 

Exploring Fossil Ammonoids

This collection can be used as a pre- and post-resource to support the free Smithsonian Science How webcast, Exploring Fossil Ammonoids with Paleobiologist Lucy Chang. During the 30-minute program, your students will have an opportunity to interact with the scientist through live Q&A and polls. 

This collection contains objects from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Many of the specimens in this collection are fossil ammonoids, but other mollusks are included for comparison. Also included in the collection is a companion worksheet for students (with teacher key) to express their newly gained knowledge about ammonoids.  

Ammonoids are an extinct group of marine mollusks that belong to the subclass Ammnoidea and the class Cephalopoda. A popular and well-known subgroup of ammonoids are ammonites. The closest living relatives of ammonoids are also cephalopods like squids, octopods, and cuttlefish, while the modern nautilus is more distantly related.   

Ammonoids had shells made of calcium carbonate just like today’s snails, clams, oysters, and other shelled mollusks. Ammonoid shells varied in shape and size. Some ammonoids had tightly coiled shells (planispiral), while others had uncoiled, irregularly shaped shells (heteromorphs). Regardless of shape or size, the shell provided the ammonoid with protection and possibly camouflage. 


Ammonoid shells had interior walls (septa) that created chambers inside of the shell. These chambers were connected by a narrow tube structure called a siphuncle. The ammonoid could use the siphuncle to control the amount of gas and fluid in each chamber, giving it the ability to achieve neutral buoyancy and move about in the marine environment.  


Although ammonoid shells are abundant in the fossil record, there is an extremely poor record of their soft parts being preserved or fossilized. Based off of their relationships to mollusks alive today, ammonoids likely had bodies that were soft. The animal would have lived exclusively in the last chamber of its shell with numerous arms extending in a ring around its mouth, eating plankton and detritus, dead or decaying matter. Scientists study the shapes and patterns of ammonoid shells and related species, fossil and modern, to learn about the extinct animal.  


Ammonoids lived around the globe and were present on earth for a very long time, about 350 million years. The entire group went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous, about 66 million years ago, along with the dinosaurs.  


The abundance of ammonoids in the fossil record and their long history on earth make them good fossils to study. Geologists use ammonoid fossils as guide or index fossils, helping to date the rock layers from which the fossils were found. Paleobiologists can use fossil ammonoids to learn about patterns of extinction and glean information about the group's evolutionary history.

Maggy Benson
24
 

PT 1 Triumph and Tragedy: American Industry

This collection brings together EDSITEment and Smithsonian resources to support the initial research into a project for National History Day 2019, "Triumph and Tragedy in History."

These resources - including photographs, objects, portraits, lesson plans, and articles - explore triumphs and tragedies in American industrialization from the late 18th century through the early 20th century.  Resources highlight influential industrialists called "captains of industry" by some and "robber barons" by others, catastrophes that occurred as a result of rapid industrialization, labor leaders who fought successfully for the rights of laborers dismal conditions, the origins of child labor laws, leading inventors and their inventions, and other important topics. The second tile of this collection contains questions to help with the analysis of photograph, document, artwork, portrait, and object resources. 

By no means is this collection comprehensive; instead, it provides a launching point for further research.

This collection was created in collaboration with EDSITEment, a website for K-12 educators from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Share your National History Day collections and let us know what you think! Write to us on Twitter: @EDSITEment & @SmithsonianLab, #NHD2019. If you publish a collection on your National History Day topic, be sure to enter #NHD2019 in the description!

Tags: strike, protest, union, andrew carnegie, john d. rockefeller, j.p. morgan, cornelius vanderbilt, henry clay frick, helen frick, andrew w. mellon, newsies, newsboys, child labor reform, thomas alva edison, incandescent lamp, nikola tesla, electric motor, electric power, alexander graham bell, telephone, christopher latham sholes, c. lathan sholes, carlos glidden, samuel soule, typewriter, triangle shirtwaist factory fire, pinkerton national detective agency, matewan massacre, wall street bombing of 1920, boston molassses disaster, asa philip randolph, a. philip randolph, john llewellyn lewis, john l. lewis, frances perkins, samuel gompers i.l.g.w.u, international ladies garment workers union, david dubinsky, company towns, #NHD

Heather Sorrell
25
 

Origins: U.S. Constitution

#SJ2019LP

Matthew Montes
30
 

Pigs!

Some of my favorite pigs, hogs, and boars from across the Smithsonian collection.

Darren Milligan
54
 

Exploring Korean Art at the Freer|Sackler

This Learning Lab contains introductory materials to help educators explore Korean art from Freer|Sackler collections with students.  It includes the following:

  • a founding history of Korean art collections at the Freer|Sackler
  • an illustrated timeline of Korea
  • a map of major ceramic production sites in Korea
  • images and information regarding rare Buddhist paintings from the Goryeo dynasty (935-1392)
  • definitions and examples of selected clay, decoration, glaze, pigment, and symbol types in Korean art
  • Freer Gallery of Art audio tour selections of Korean art
  • curator videos from Discovering Korea's Past: Interdisciplinary Connections Summer Institute for Educators held at the Freer|Sackler, Summer 2018
  • related educator resources from other museums
  • teacher-created lessons and Learning Lab Collections from Discovering Korea's Past: Interdisciplinary Connections Summer Institute for Educators held at the Freer|Sackler, Summer 2018

Tags: Korea, Goryeo, archaeology, art, celadon, ceramics, painting, symbols, Buddhism

Freer|Sackler Education
111
 

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Highlights Collection

This is a Smithsonian Learning Lab topical collection, which contains images, text, recordings, and other multimedia resources that may complement the Tween Tribune feature, Martin Luther King, Jr. found inspiration in Henry David Thoreau. Use these resources to introduce or augment your study of this topic. If you want to personalize this collection by changing or adding content, click the Sign Up link above to create a free account.  If you are already logged in, click the copy button to initiate your own version. Learn more here

Grace Davis
49
 

Doorways & Passages

Doorways are the transition point from one place to another.  They can be functional, decorative, symbolic, or a combination of all three.  Work with a partner to view and discuss a selection of doorways.

  • What does it look like?
  • What is it made of?
  • Where do you think it leads?
  • How does it impact the viewer or person who might want to enter/exit?

ART MAKING CHALLENGES: 

  • Design a doorway or passageway that symbolizes what happens inside.
  • Design a doorway or passageway that links a physical place to an imaginary one.
  • Design a doorway to represent a transition from one period of your life to another. 

Jean-Marie Galing
31
 

Access Series: Nostalgic Popular "Pop" Culture

This inspiration collection of nostalgic popular "pop" culture from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s—super heroes and super villains, Muppets, cartoon characters, Star Wars, Disney and Pixar characters, Transformers, and movies was used for a collage activity and discussion prompt in an informal learning activity, "Me & My World: Personal Ecology/Interest Inventory" with a group of teens with cognitive and intellectual disabilities. Students were asked about their favorite pop culture influences from the past and present. Use the visible thinking routine, "See|Think|Wonder" as a starting point for a discussion prompt, and the images for inspiration.

Tags: decision-making, self-determination, student empowerment, disability, All Access Digital Arts Program

Tracie Spinale
95
 

Access Series: Flying Things

This topical collection of airplanes, hot air balloons, space craft, and other things that fly, was originally used in a collage art activity (printed out; using paper, glue, and art materials). It was used as a discussion prompt in an informal learning activity with a group of teens with cognitive disabilities during a summer camp program--as pre-museum visit preparation to artifacts that would be found at an airplane museum. Other suggested uses beyond collage and discussion prompts would be a writing exercise, "If you could fly anywhere, where would you go and what would you do?" Use the visible thinking routine, "See|Think|Wonder" as a starting point for the writing prompt, and the images for inspiration.

Tags: decision-making, self-determination, student empowerment, disability, all access digital arts program

Tracie Spinale
100
 

Access Series: Meta Collage

This topical collection of artworks is all about collage. Collage is a technique that uses other pieces of artwork assembled into a new artwork. The collection was originally used in a collage art activity to provide inspiration examples of the art of collage-making, based upon personal interests. It was used with a group of teens with cognitive disabilities during a summer camp program.

Descriptors: Decision Making, Disabilities, Self-Determination, Self-Efficacy, Student Empowerment

Tracie Spinale
31
 

Access Series: People, Friends, and Family--Together and Alone

This topical collection of people—together in groups with friends or families (mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandmother, and grandfather); different genders, ages, and ethnicities, and "selfies"—was originally used in a collage art activity (printed out; using paper, glue, and art materials); and as a discussion prompt in an informal learning activity with a group of teens with cognitive disabilities during a summer camp program. Use the visible thinking routine, "See|Think|Wonder" as a starting point for the writing prompt, and the images for inspiration.

Tags: decision-making, self-determination, student empowerment, disability, All Access Digital Arts Program

Tracie Spinale
134
 

Access Series: Animals - Domestic and Wild!

This topical collection of artworks is all about animals—domestic pets, and wild, untamed beasts. Horses, elephants, dinosaurs, zebras, pandas...cats, hogs, frogs, dogs, lions, tigers, and bears; fish and fowl, monkeys that howl - you'll find all of them here. This collections was originally used in a collage art activity (printed out; using paper, glue, and art materials), and as a discussion prompt in an informal learning activity with a group of teens with cognitive disabilities during a summer camp program. Other suggested uses beyond collage and discussion prompts would be a writing exercise, "Which animals have you seen before and where did you see them? If you could have any one of these animals as a pet, which would you choose and why?" Use the visible thinking routine, "See|Think|Wonder" as a starting point for the writing prompt, and the images for inspiration.


Tags: Decision Making, Disabilities, Self-Determination, Self-Efficacy, Student Empowerment, All Access Digital Arts Program

Tracie Spinale
278
 

Access Series: Making Music and Sonic Self-Portraits

This inspiration collection of musical people and music instruments was used for a music-making activity and discussion prompt in an informal learning activity with a group of teens with cognitive and intellectual disabilities. Students used GarageBand software to create sonic self-portraits. Prior to the activity, teens were asked about their favorite genres of music, including jazz, blues, classical, rock, pop, rap, and R&B. Use the visible thinking routine, "See|Think|Wonder" as a starting point for the discussion prompt, and the images for inspiration.

Tags: decision-making, self-determination, student empowerment, disability, All Access Digital Arts Program

Tracie Spinale
66
 

Access Series: Places "Real" and "Imagined"

This topical collection of artworks is based upon a wide variety of places and travel spots, both "real" and "imagined." It features castles, mountains, beaches, forests, capital cities, and fantasy movie landscapes. It was originally used in a collage art activity (printed out; using paper, glue, and art materials); and as a discussion prompt in an informal learning activity with a group of teens with cognitive disabilities during a summer camp program. Students were asked about famous places they have visited or would want to visit, as well as favorite vacation or travel spots. Other suggested uses beyond collage and discussion prompts would be a writing exercise, "If you could travel anywhere, where would you go, and who would you travel with, etc...?" Use the visible thinking routine "See|Think|Wonder" as a starting point for the writing prompt, and the images for inspiration.

Tags: Decision Making, Disabilities, Self-Determination, Self-Efficacy, Student Empowerment, All Access Digital Arts Program

Tracie Spinale
72
 

Access Series: Fantastic Creatures

This topical collection of artworks is based upon "fantastical things." It was originally used in a collage art activity (printed out; using paper, glue, and art materials); and as a discussion prompt in an informal learning activity with a group of teens with cognitive disabilities during a summer camp program. Other suggested uses beyond collage and discussion prompts would be a writing exercise, utilizing the "See|Think|Wonder" visible thinking routine. You could also pair the collection with popular young adult fantasy novels, and ancient myths and legends.

Descriptors: Decision Making, Disabilities, Self-Determination, Self-Efficacy, Student Empowerment, All Access Digital Arts Program

Tracie Spinale
64
 

All Access Digital Arts Club: Activities + Plans for Neurodiverse Teens

SCLDA's All Access Digital Arts Program (2012-2016) provided skill-building opportunities in digital arts and communications, creative expression, and social inclusion to a spectrum of teen learners in the Washington, DC metro area. Participating youth visited Smithsonian science, history, and art museums, created digital and physical artworks based upon a tailored curriculum, engaged in social interactions online and in-person, gained digital literacy skills, and developed friendships with other teens. Through once-per-month club outreach activities and summer intensive camps and workshops, students were exposed to communication, collaborative learning, research, and problem solving. The program served up to 20 youth per session, ages 14 through 22 with cognitive and intellectual disabilities. The youth experienced skill building, leadership opportunities, and social integration through Smithsonian resources, socialization opportunities, and computer skills. Youth participated in 1.) One- and two-week multi-media digital arts workshops whose outcome was student-produced artworks, songs, and movies that were shared with family and friends at openings and online via a social network; and 2.) Club activities--to build upon skills developed during the summer, and maintain social connections. 

All Access Club activities were offered to alumni of the summer workshops, and were held once monthly on Saturdays during the year to build upon skills developed during the workshop, and maintain social connections. During the club, teens practiced social skills through guided activities and Smithsonian museum visits, and produced original digital and hands-on art projects at the Hirshhorn ARTLAB+. Educators led the group in a series of planned educational activities related to the day’s theme—such as “the universe” or “oceans”.  Volunteers assisted club members to use social media, tablets, cameras and laptops to facilitate the digital experience. The activities and resources promoted digital literacy skills, and can motivate families to visit museums to learn, and for teens to build self-esteem. An evaluation session on the final day allowed teens to express their thoughts to the club organizers.

Special thanks to colleague Joshua P. Taylor, Researcher, Virginia Commonwealth University


Keywords: access, disability, accessibility, neurodiversity, special education, SPED, out of school learning, informal learning, cognitive, social skills, engagement, passion, creativity, empowerment, self-determination

Tracie Spinale
19
 

SSYAC Meeting 4 - Challenging Perceptions of Zoos (Archived: Fall 2017 - Spring 2018)

The fourth meeting of the SSYAC was held in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. We meet both human staff and animal members of the zoo (Clementine the Striped Skunk), and discussed the Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism initiative with Dr. Skorton and the zoo’s Director, Dr. Steven Monfort. We'll also discuss the responses to the previous assignment about the “Second Opinion” website.

During the "Challenging Perceptions of Zoos" activity, we discussed how the National Zoo carries out its mission: “We Save Species.” Through the lens of the Western Lowland gorilla, Cuban crocodile, Sloth bear, and California sea lion, and the Asian elephant—we considered how these endangered animals could be saved. SSYAC members participated in a role-playing scenario with members of the zoo education staff.  Post-meeting, members had the opportunity to walk the zoo grounds. It was wild!

Special thanks to Friends of the National Zoo colleagues Laura Klopfer and Erika Novak for creating and implementing the education activities.


KEYWORDS: student engagement, teen council, conservation biology, Earth Optimism

Tracie Spinale
63
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