In June 2012, a new class of Gallery docents celebrated the end of their year-long training as volunteer tour guides. Each of the 35 new docents pledged to lead at least 25 tours a year and attend followup sessions twice a month. Two years later, they’re still going strong, along with veteran colleagues—including some who are still enthusiastic after decades of “docenting.”
Look for these dedicated volunteers around the Gallery, as they introduce a new generation of schoolchildren to the wonders of the collection.
Above: Docents get together twice a month to learn what’s new at MAG.
In March 2014, MAG published its first ebook, Ancient Egypt: Exploring Ancient Artifacts with Alex the Archaeologist, available free from the
Ancient Egypt features Alexander Smith, a Mediterranean archaeologist and graduate student at Brown University’s Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World. Alex is a Rochester native who returns monthly to visit area schools as part of a program that has been recognized by the Archaeological Institute of America. Read more about the program on AIA’s website and learn more about Alex in a recent AIA blog.
Designed for classroom use by grades 6–12, Ancient Egypt is the first in a series for young people studying the ancient world. Learn more
As one of the school’s cultural partners, the Gallery welcomed 1st through 6th graders for a total of sixty visits to the museum and Creative Workshop. Every Friday for ten consecutive weeks (with some rescheduling for very cold, wintry days), the students walked over from the Barrington Street school and spent an hour and a half at MAG. At the end of the year, the Creative Workshop mounted an exhibit of student artwork. Learn more
Above: Director of education Marlene Hamann-Whitmore explores the collection with students.
In October 2011, MAG hosted an open house for members of the community who are blind or visually impaired. The day featured cell phone stops that give detailed visual descriptions of selected work in the collection, as well as touch tours of several works of sculpture upstairs and down. Over the course of the day, 60 people attended the program, which ABVI and WXXI Reach Out Radio helped promote.
The open house was made possible by the Elizabeth L. and Donald M. Cohn Endowment.
Pictured: Assistant curator Sydney Greaves (at left) leads a touch tour of a 3rd-c. Roman sarcophagus. Photo by Brandon K. Vick.
In February 2011, MAG launched a special cell phone tour for visitors who are blind or visually impaired. The detailed verbal descriptions of selected paintings in the collection were written by journalist Amy Mednick, who described the works as “old friends” in a Democrat and Chronicle blog.
“After I described five paintings,” wrote Mednick, “we toured them with Rene LaTorre, of the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired-Goodwill, and Lisa Helen Hoffman, an expert in audio description, who gave us helpful input on details and structure. Ruth Phinney, of Reachout Radio, then arranged for Anita Nicoletta to record these descriptions, and generously donated the recording and production time at WXXI.”
The tour is also available in Braille at the Gallery’s admission desk. Learn more
Pictured: Peeling Onions, by American artist Lilly Martin Spencer, is one of the tour stops.
At first glance, an ancient Mycenaean vase, a 17th-century Flemish painting and a 20th-century Antelope crest figure from West Africa don’t have much in common. But as a new, interactive MAG website makes clear, these objects have stories to tell that can teach life lessons, celebrate our common human experience, even help explain the unexplainable.
With four other works from the Gallery’s permanent collection, they’re the focus of Picturing the Story: Narrative Arts and the Stories They Tell. The site, which was funded by a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is geared to teachers and students but has much to interest any art-loving member of the general public. Visit and explore
Pictured: Krater with Chariot Procession, 13th c. BCE. R.T. Miller Fund.