Monday, July 6, 2009

June 12, 2009, Project Launch at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

What a joy it was to celebrate Rembrandt at our launch and to open our project to activity now by children and adults! Let us tell you about June 12th at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

About 75 invited guests gathered in the Bonnie J. Sacerdote Lecture Hall of the Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education. Distinguished speakers included Joseph Piro, faculty at Long Island University and director of the grant, Walter Liedtke, Curator of European Paintings at the Met, David Steinberg, President of Long Island University, William Craig Rice, Director of the Division of Education Programs at the NEH, and Andrea Bayer, Curator of European Paintings and Interim Head of Education at the Met. Then, the website was shown with opportunities for the audience to ask questions and envision possibilities. Of great significance is that the website is the home of the project and the place to connect to resources, activities, and contributions. But, the project can happen anywhere, at anytime, with anyone.

The guests saw the 20 highlighted works, information about each, including a larger image with rollovers, the capacity to zoom into each work, and a description. Each work is linked to teaching lesson suggestions and some have audio e-docents. All saw the timeline, resources related to varied facets of the project, links to primary historical documents, multimedia slideshows, a theoretical framework, standards, and various suggested activities. There is a new section now begun for more than the 20 works.

One highlighted activity was the opening of the virtual reality space we will use, our replica of the Rembrandt House in Amsterdam. Participants who would like to download and install Second Life and create an avatar, are invited into the Rembrandt House for conversations, presentations, casual support, play acting life in 17th century Holland, and more. A calendar gives dates and times of meetings and will be filled in during the coming months. July 15 will include a celebration of Rembrandt’s birthday.

As the formal presentation ended, all were invited into the European Galleries upstairs in the museum to see the Met’s Rembrandts. We tried to make the point that the digitized image was no substitute for the real thing. We hope all who participate in the project in the years to come will seek out the works themselves in museums around the country and around the world. To end our launch in the space of the works was like magic.

For those of you who attended, feel free to comment here and add your observations.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Launching our Rembrandt site

Welcome to Rembrandt and Collections of his Art in America, a National Endowment for the Humanities project. Please explore our website to learn about Rembrandt, his art and times. If you are a middle or high school teacher, you will find resources for using our site with your students. You do not need to be a teacher, though, to join us. Whoever you are, welcome!

The project team designed a site to offer triggers for engagement and invitations to engage. You might wish to explore the site and engage in activities yourself or with others. Products related to the site may be hung in our gallery. Perhaps you create writings, images, videos, podcasts, websites. We will archive suitable submissions in an accessible online database and periodically highlight some. And... you may wish to join in through in-person or online conversations, video conferences and events. These will be announced here and on our website. And... you may wish to respond to this blog. Feel free to comment on the various blog entries and suggest blog entries. We will select some and include them, with your name and affiliation, if you wish.

As we launch our site, it will come alive as you enter its space and contribute! Welcome!