Spring has Sprung at the Ackland Museum Store

The Ackland Museum Store is fully stocked with new items for Easter and Spring. There are so many unique items – ranging from flowers in a can to bunny tattoos – there is something for every age! I couldn’t help but hum “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” as I explored the shop.

For the avid gardener and grill master, the store has an array of cookbooks that are perfect for spring and summer meals!  There are also many different seeds, tools, and pots to choose from to start your own garden.

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The Ackland through Young Eyes

K-12 tours are a vital part of the Ackland Art Museum’s community outreach. Interactive in nature, they engage students in interdisciplinary activities outside of the classroom. Please visit https://ackland.org/education/k-12/guided-tours/ to learn more or request a tour. 

Bill Cosby’s late ’90s television show “Kids Say the Darndest Things” may be off the air now, but I felt like an audience member when I observed a group of kindergartners taking a tour at the Ackland. They came to learn about different art forms—and definitely weren’t lacking in funny, yet intuitive, comments.

They all gathered on the floor, sitting “criss-cross applesauce” and wide eyed, admiring the art from the Ackland’s permanent collection. The girls donned bright patterns and bows in their hair, and the boys were sporting superhero shirts and tennis shoes.

It came as no surprise that the art work that garnered the most attention was a colorful, contemporary IMG_1318 (1)piece by Hans Hofmann. The Ackland docent leading the group asked the inquisitive kids what objects they saw in the picture. They all raised their hands, waiting to be called on. At first, they remarked on the bright colors and shapes that resembled animals and mountains, but their comments quickly took a different turn.

One boy enthusiastically raised his hand, bouncing up and down, until he was called on.

“Um… there’s a Hans in ‘Frozen’!”

And then came the squeals of excitement. Surprisingly, there is not a big difference between a group of 5-year-olds talking about “Frozen” and a group of 21-year-olds talking about “Frozen.” There will always be one trying to out-do Idina Menzel by belting “Let it Go” at the top of their lungs, and one repeatedly asking if anyone wants to build a snowman. Needless to say, I’ve never felt more connected to a kindergartner.

DSC00317On their tour, the group also went back in time and learned about Hercules, another one of my all-time favorite Disney movies. They sat quietly as they listened to tales of Hercules’ battles and admired an ancient Greek pot he was depicted on. The kindergartners even decorated their own pots on paper. The kids put a modern twist on themes in ancient pottery and drew modern day superheroes.

Watching their eyes light up as they explored each gallery made me smile and think back to when I was their age. Visiting the Ackland is a great opportunity for young minds to explore and engage in hands-on activities, all while having fun.

Fear Not the Blue Border: Mix and Mingle at the Nasher!

Though Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have a long-standing rivalry, students are coming together at the universities’ respective art museums to go “beyond blue borders.” Two collaborative parties—designed for students from both universities—are upon us, hosted by two world-class art museums in the Triangle area.

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Meet the Staff: Katie Voss

Get to know the Ackland Art Museum staff! Katie Voss is the receptionist and Administrative Assistant to the Director at the Ackland Art Museum, and is probably the most visible of the behind-the-scenes staff. Voss, a recent college graduate who is fluent in French, enjoys the fast-paced work environment. She spoke with Sarah Headley about her hobbies and her role at the museum.

katieVossWhere are you from?
Grand Rapids Michigan. I’m a Yankee and far from home.

Where did you go to school and what was your major?
I went to the University of Michigan and doubled in French and Linguistics. I’m definitely a language person. I graduated in four years and studied abroad in Southern France. Continue reading

Making (Time for) Art – A UNC Student’s Perspective

If you’re a UNC student and you’ve been intrigued by the Ackland’s Art à la Carte offerings, but wanted to know more about what to expect in a session, read on! Seeking a participant’s perspective, we sent Sarah Headley, a UNC junior working in the Ackland’s communications department, to get her art on and blog about it. 

IMG_3691One of my childhood memories is of my aunt integrating crafts into our family gatherings. We would make Christmas ornaments, candle holders, shell decorations—you name it. I still enjoy making these crafts now, if not even more than I did as a little girl with bangs and pig tails.

Now, as a junior in college, I look forward to occasions where I can be artsy. Working in the Communications office at the Ackland Art Museum on campus, the Art à la Carte classes popped up on my radar. On select Fridays from 4:00-7:00 PM, UNC students can learn about different art techniques and try their hand at them. All the materials are provided and each class is only $10, which is a steal for us college students.

I attended the Found Book Art session, where we began by examining published books that had been transformed into works of art. Books can be altered by adding things like paint, or by cutting out words to make a new meaning. Continue reading