Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Students can learn of Africa, museums

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

        Students can explore African art while learning skills needed to pass Ohio's fourth- and sixth-grade proficiency tests.

        All the elements are in a multimedia program, “Behind the Glass: The Cincinnati Art Museum.” The kickoff was Tuesday at the museum.

[photo] Bi Okoto, a drum group, played Tuesday at the kickoff for an educational program called “Behind the Glass,” at the Cincinnati Art Museum.
(Tony Jones photo)
| ZOOM |
        The program was created by the museum, WCET (Channel 48) and the Association for the Advancement of Arts Education. A $300,000 grant came from the Ohio Educational Telecommunications Network Commission.

        “This project was three years in the making and provides a window into (ancient) African civilization,” said publicist Nancy Nolan. “Children also learn about art conservation and will get to see part of an exhibit not open to the public.”

        Students will use a specially designed kit that includes lesson plans, art materials and a DVD offering a virtual tour of the collection and the conservation lab.

        They will learn about ancient Africa through activities centered on the museum's Steckelmann collection. The collection has more than 1,300 objects gathered in sub-Saharan Africa by George Steckelmann between 1885 and 1895.

        “It's for the nonart teacher, aimed at grades 3 to 6,” said Lorna-Kay Peal, a museum curator and former teacher. “This will allow more people to see what we're doing. Much of this exhibit can't be put on display because it's too fragile.”

        Distance learning equipment has allowed the museum to train teachers in 34 schools with few resources. Other schools can buy the kits for $95. “I like to see the arts integrated in academic areas,” said Matt Wagner, principal at Clermont County's William Bick Elementary School. "I think its good for the students to see the same skills and concepts they learn in academic classes can be integrated in art.”

       For information, go online at


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- Students can learn of Africa, museums
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