Serving teachers and students across the Commonwealth is a vital part of VMFA’s educational mission. In a typical year, between 20,000 and 30,000 students from central Virginia participate in guided or self-guided gallery tours. For educators, VMFA’s reach extends much further. Thematic teacher workshops touching on every area of the collection are held at VMFA, virtually through the Evans Distance Learning Program, and by request across the state. Nearly 3,400 educators participated in teacher workshops virtually or offsite during the last fiscal year.
“VMFA has enriched my teaching in countless ways,” says Allison Carneiro da Silva, Curriculum Specialist for World Languages and ESOL for Hanover County and a member of VMFA’s Glasgow Society. “Distance learning sessions on the Mellon Collections were a great addition to my French classes, while Latin students enjoyed learning about the ancient art. I am a huge fan of the teacher workshops, which always provide tools and materials I can put to use immediately with my students and share with colleagues.”
The museum’s Learn site, which is informed by VMFA’s Teacher Advisory Committee, is another boon to educators. This ever-expanding library of resources offers classroom lessons, gallery guides, and pre- and post-visit activities aligned with Virginia’s Standards of Learning. While the visual arts are a consistent focus, lessons address a variety of subject areas—from world history and literature to science and math.
“Working with students and educators has a profound ripple effect,” explains Celeste Fetta, VMFA’s Joan P. Brock Director of Education. “Integrating arts into the classrooms not only fosters creative thinking, but gives students a deeper and richer understanding of the material.”