An American Art Education

Two of our talented McDermott Interns have been busy working on some new projects, both involving our collection of American art.

Alexandra Vargo: As the McDermott Education Intern for Gallery Teaching, I work with school tours, adult tours, teachers, and the volunteer docent corps. Currently, I’m working on a Docent Guide for the Museum’s collection of colonial to modern American art. The guide focuses on creating interactive and versatile experiences that can be presented with any number of objects and age groups. I have been testing these activities with school tours ranging from 3rd graders to high school art students throughout my internship.

The “Make Your Own Profile” exercise has been one of the most fun to create. It is based on Facebook and asks students to think creatively about a portrait of their choice within the American collection. Students use close looking and visual evidence to draw conclusions about the personality and backstory of the subject. Check out some of the examples below:

Pilar Wong: As the McDermott Education Intern for Community Teaching, I work with Go van Gogh®, our art education outreach program. I am currently working on revamping our 5th and 6th grade program titled Picturing American History. The program focuses on artworks in the DMA’s collection that reflect important moments in American history.

Piero Fornasetti, Richard Ginori Porcelain, Le retour (The Return) plate from the "Man in Space" series, designed 1966, porcelain, transfer-printed, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Michael L. Rosenberg

The Return plate from the Man in Space series, Piero Fornasetti, designer, Richard Ginori Porcelain, manufacturer, designed 1966, porcelain, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Michael L. Rosenberg

After discussing the five artworks, students make commemorative plates that capture a modern-day current event or social issue. This activity is based on The Return, a plate from the Man in Space series that commemorates the Space Race between the United States and the former USSR. Check out some of the kids’ responses below:

Projects like these provide valuable contributions to our ongoing educational work at the Museum and remain in use long after our McDermott Interns have left the DMA.

Alexandra Vargo is the McDermott Education Intern for Gallery Teaching and Pilar Wong is the McDermott Education Intern for Community Teaching at the DMA.

2 Responses to “An American Art Education”


  1. 1 Paul Harris April 25, 2013 at 4:13 am

    Very creative projects. The variety of images were obviously not patterns. Too often those are often see in public school classrooms

  2. 2 Stephanie Wright April 26, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Innovative methods for combining historical ‘social media’ with our more modern conception of it…Great teaching stragety!


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