Meanings: an innovative remote education program of the art museums for schoolchildren
The project “Meanings" consists of 12 online lessons from four art museums – the main building of the Latvian National Museum of Art, Art Museum RIGA BOURSE, Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, and Museum of Romans Suta and Aleksandra Beļcova. Each museum will offer three remote lessons – one for each level of education – primary school, elementary school, and high school. The content of the lessons will help to get to know and participate in art and design creation processes and will grant a look into the backstage operations of the museums.
The program “Meanings" is an innovative and engaging online art museum education opportunity for children, adapted to the technological potential of the digital space. During the lessons, the children will be able to investigate the museum spaces that are usually unavailable to visitors – such as the collection depositories. There will be video meetings with various experts from art museums and the field of culture. The project unites 32 professionals – museum managers, art scientists, restorers, exhibition curators as well as stage designers, artists, designers, and others.
Such online lessons not only allow children to maintain a connection with museums at a time when they are closed or group visits are restricted, but also create this connection in everyday life, especially for children that live further from the capital.
Elīna Bērziņa, Head of Education at the Latvian National Museum of Art comments: "With this project, we want to speak to schoolchildren in the educational institutions of the Latvian diaspora, as well as to the children educated at home. It is a great opportunity to interactively explore the processes of Latvian art and design, Latvian history, and the current issues through the stories delivered by professionals in the field of culture."
The lessons of the project “Meanings" are created on the digital education platform "Nearpod" which is available online and without registration to all participants of the lessons. The contents of the program were created according to the results of surveys conducted for different age groups of schoolchildren, thus, directly addressing the questions that children and young adults were interested in. With the help of various practical assignments, discussions, and group activities, the children will have a chance to investigate artworks from the moment of their conception until their display in museum exhibitions, to explore various aspects of designer work, as well as to consider what constitutes the value of artworks and collections.
"I really liked it. The video stories and tasks were very interesting. Sometimes the lessons at school are going on forever, but this lesson flew by very fast because it was so engaging,"
Aleksandra, 10th grade.
“I think that the lesson was very interesting, I got to know a lot of new things. I liked that the lesson took us on a journey,”
Rebeka, 10th grade.
The name of the project – [a wordplay that means both “signs” and “meanings”] is derived from the idea to explore signs in art and culture together or to look for their meanings. Signs here stand for messages left by the artists in the form of artworks and for the symbols that permeate cultural heritage for thousands of years, from cave paintings to digital art.
The project is implemented with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia.
The lessons are included in the “Latvian School Bag” program.