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College of Arts and Sciences

Museum Learning: Pilot Program with the Columbia Museum of Art

This pilot program allows selected faculty to use materials from the Columbia Museum of Art (CMA) collection in their classes during the fall semester of 2023. This partnership introduces students to the CMA in a way that will carry beyond a particular tour, project, or course, and is designed to extend learning beyond the classroom. 

Participating faculty from the School of Visual Art and Design, Physics, and elsewhere across the university bring their students to the CMA to access the collections for a variety of learning goals and outcomes, and 350 students in the program will also have access to the CMA for a full year.

What Faculty Are Saying

We’ve used the CMA to understand spatial relationships in fine art and translate them to the digital work the students are creating.
I've been impressed by the wide range of interesting short stories they produced in response to specific works of art, from depictions of a local BLM protest from multiple angles to a feminist interpretation of Collier's The Decoy, from a contemporary re-envisioning of the Roman Goddess of the Hunt to a portrait of complex family grief inspired by the collection of historic snuff bottles. (A class favorite in 200H was an imagined life story for a security guard, via his favorite paintings.)
Many students commented in the assignment how beautifully the museum was organized, and a few of them wrote about how the organization of the museum actually follows the principles of Similarity (in various rooms) and Continuity (that there is the feeling of a smooth, flowing movement as you go through the museum). One or two students commented how they 'were never that interested in museums', and yet how impressed they were and how much they enjoyed the artwork. And I did have one student mention that she had never been to a museum before. She was quite appreciative of the experience.
The students visit the museum almost weekly…I have required the students to take photos at the museum that depict different aspects of light and perception. I am planning on having the students mount selected photos from their ‘portfolios’ and then displaying the students’ art work as a show that blends science and art (with the CMA a central piece). I am planning the show to be near the end of the term (as part of the students' final project grade).

About the Museum

The Columbia Museum of Art is a charitable nonprofit organization dedicated to lifelong learning and community enrichment for all. Located in the heart of downtown Columbia, S.C., the CMA ranks among the leading art institutions in the country and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and creative educational programs. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.