Teaching with the Museums at W&L

Building Visual Literacy: A Toolkit for Interdisciplinary Teaching from University Art Collections

Many colleges across the country possess small but rich art collections that have the potential to expand curricula in dynamic ways across a range of subjects. Such collections often hang on the walls of offices, public buildings, or are hidden away in storage. Collections staff work diligently to engage faculty with the collection, encouraging them to incorporate artworks into their courses. We seek to facilitate the cross-disciplinary use of Washington and Lee's (W&L) art collection by creating a series of multidisciplinary lesson plans focused on objects in the collection.

This collection development model harnesses the expertise and enthusiasm of many individuals from across campus to develop content related directly to curricular needs. The toolkit lessons are truly interdisciplinary and engage students and professors from diverse fields including museum studies, studio art, art history, chemistry, neuroscience, economics, theater, and chemistry. The web-based toolkit ensures that content developed over time is archived and accessible to a wide public.

To learn more about building visual literacy and browse sample toolkits, visit the initiative's homepage.