Indicator species are living things (plants and animals) that can be examined to understand the environment inwhich they live. Fluctuations in population and health of an indicator species signifies a change in the environment. In many ways, the visual arts is an indicator species. Shifts in social, political, and economical environments greatly affect the art that is produced at any given time. By gaining a better understanding of how shifts and trends develop in art, one can have a greater insight to the history of the world around us.
Just because they are furloughed, doesn’t mean Hawaii’s teachers are resting on their laurels.
On Feb. 6 and 13, the Academy held the free teacher workshop “Teaching History Through Art” and 45 dedicated public school history teachers from throughout the state—Oahu, Maui (including two from Hana!), Molokai, Kauai and Hawaii—attended.
Teachers received an extensive overview of how they can use art in their history classrooms. Academy docents gave workshop participants small group tours of the galleries, librarian Ron Chapman took them behind the scenes of the Robert Allerton Research Library, and local historians gave content lectures. Teachers were also introduced to a process that involves looking at art with their students and ways to incorporate literacy into their lessons. The two days culminated with teachers developing classroom lessons that incorporate art from the Academy’s collection.
Not only did the teachers learn new approaches toward teaching history, they also received the Academy’s latest comprehensive curriculum guide, “Picturing Hawai‘i.” Developed by Kita McCord, the museum’s talented Education Resource Coordinator, the guide highlights six images from the Academy’s collection which then can be used to teach multiple subjects for many grades. Included is a teacher resource book with suggested lessons and activities, as well as laminated reproductions of the six images.
“Picturing Hawai‘i” is based on the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Picturing America initiative and is made possible by a grant from the Hawaii Council for the Humanities. The two-day workshop was also supported by the Hawaii Council for the Humanities and the Hawaii Department of Education in conjunction with the Teaching American History Grant.