Recognizing the relationship of keen observation to communication, critical thinking, and leadership in evidence-based literature, educators have expanded the use of art museums to augment visual intelligence skills. The purpose of this pilot intervention was to evaluate an innovative, interdisciplinary approach for integrating visual intelligence skills into an advanced communications and collaboration course. Collaborating with museum educators, the intervention for doctoral students was conducted at the National Gallery of Art. The aims were to explore and evaluate observation skills, use of intentional language in communication, impact of visual intelligence on perception, and role of visual intelligence with empathy.
An activity involving analysis of art in biology courses was designed with the goals of piquing undergraduates’ curiosity, broadening the ways in which college students meaningfully engage with course content and concepts, and developing aspects of students’ higher-level thinking skills, such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. To meet these learning outcomes, the activity had three key components: preparatory readings, firsthand visual analysis of art during a visit to an art museum, and communication of the analysis.
With evidence that arts engagement and nonlinear thinking style both utilize insight, intuition, and emotion in the decision making process, the literature has driven an investigation of the relationship between levels of arts engagement and thinking style preference. This nonexperimental correlational study (N = 101) explored (a) the prevalence of linear, nonlinear, or balanced linear/nonlinear thinking style of professionals working in museums. (b) Whether thinking style has a relationship with (i) age; (ii) sex; (iii) academic major; (iv) occupation; (v) levels of arts engagement. Two theoretical frameworks underpinned this study: (a) new literacies and (b) cognitive styles.
Academic art museums have been developing and using pedagogic approaches that support learning in the museum for many years. As with many teaching and learning practices, these have shifted from curator-centered lecturing to visitor-centered active learning techniques. Concern for how learning in the art museum can leverage learning outside of the museum (what we here refer to as learning through the museum) is a more recent consideration taken up by museum directors, curators, university teaching and learning centers, and individual faculty members.