K-12 Educator Open House featuring “The Beautiful Brain”

FREE!   K-12 Educator Open House 
Thursday, 28 February 2019 | 5:30–7:30 PM
Registration required

Explore The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal exhibition and the Ackland’s collection during this special evening for educators! Engage with area educators and Museum staff in conversation about the art, enjoy light hors d’oeuvres, and take a tour of the exhibition. Participants will leave with teaching ideas to use in the classroom or in the Museum. All grade levels and disciplines welcome!

*Free parking is available on a first-come, first-serve basis behind the Museum in the Porthole Alley Lot. This lot may be accessed via the driveway in-between the Museum and the Top of the Hill Restaurant on Columbia Street.

Other parking options:   www.parkonthehill.com

  • Rosemary Lot – 100 E Rosemary St    $1.50/hour
  • Wallace Parking Deck – 150 E Rosemary St       $1/hour
  • PNC/Sea Turtle Lot – 164 N Columbia St    FREE after 6 PM
  • UNC-CH Swain Lot (located off Cameron Avenue) –  FREE after 5 PM

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.