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2/6/2018 1:59:00 AM
Museum on the move: With Eskenazi closed, IU docents bring art exhibits to area schools
Kim Simpson, a docent with the Indiana University Eskenazi Museum of Art, gives a presentation to Nancy Gross' second-grade class at Edgewood Primary School in Ellettsville. Staff photo by Chris Howell.
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Kim Simpson, a docent with the Indiana University Eskenazi Museum of Art, gives a presentation to Nancy Gross' second-grade class at Edgewood Primary School in Ellettsville. Staff photo by Chris Howell.

Brittani Howell, Herald-Times

ELLETTSVILLE — Most years, Nancy Goss takes her class of second-grade students to the Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University for a tour.

But the museum is closed for two years for renovation. So instead, the Eskenazi came to Goss.

Throughout the school year, docents from the Eskenazi Museum have been taking a miniature version of their elementary-aged museum tour to second-grade classrooms throughout Monroe County.

On Thursday, tour manager Patsy Rahn and docent Kim Simpson made Goss’ classroom at Edgewood Primary School their 45th visit this school year.

By the time they’re finished, they will have visited 47 classrooms, 1,060 students and 14 schools in the Monroe County Community and Richland-Bean Blossom school districts.

For their visits, Rahn and Simpson fired up a PowerPoint presentation featuring some of the museum’s more notable works. Simpson used each painting to talk about a basic artistic principle and some key vocabulary words.

The painting of a lobster and a platter of fruit, she said, is called a “still life,” whereas “American Harvesting” is a landscape painting, because it focuses on a field and a mountain.

“Paintings like this told stories,” she said, as Rahn pulled up a picture of a painting called “Adoration of the Magi.” “Let’s see if we can figure out what this story is about.”

The in-class visits are very different from the actual museum tour, Rahn said. When they started out, the Eskenazi staff didn’t realize just how different it would be. For one, a docent usually has eight to 10 kids on a tour. For another, the sheer size and grandeur of the museum enchants young visitors.

But in a classroom, the docents have 25 to 30 students at a time, and there isn’t any walking between galleries to help burn some of the children’s excess energy. The Eskenazi staff have had to find ways to get the kids up and moving, such as coming to the front of the classroom to point out elements of the paintings on the screen.

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