Museum archivist and Lending Collection coordinator Dawn Sueoka pulls a wheeled black crate out from under a wall of shelves and props open the lid. Inside, a silk garment, a blue-and-white porcelain plate, a metal bowl, and nine other objects are meticulously wrapped and packed in compartments. This is the Globalization Lending Box—a mobile mini-museum holding a dozen items from the Lending Collection. The box, which recently returned from visiting schools on Maui and Hawai‘i Island, allows classrooms on neighbor islands to experience the museum’s Globalization Through Art tour.
The boxes also contain details on each object, suggested classroom activities, reading lists, and images. One of the suggested activities is a gallery walk—which has teachers arrange artifacts from the box with images of other pieces and informational text to create their own gallery in the classroom.
On Maui, Pukalani Elementary School teacher Evelyn Suzuki recently had her 2nd and 3rd grade students do a gallery walk in her classroom. the whole process of borrowing artifacts from the Honolulu Museum of Arts School allows me to bring the Museum into my classroom. “Having the collection in the classroom was a great experience for each student to see works of art from Europe and Asia,” says Suzuki. “They get a small taste of what can be found in the Museum and they also get to take things one step further by being able to handle the pieces.” She learned about the Lending Boxes when she participated in one of the museum’s three-day professional development workshops for teachers in October. The Lending Box allowed Suzuki to recreate the hands-on experience of the Globalization Through Art Tour right in Makawao. “It was a great learning experience for myself and the students!”
From Suzuki’s Maui classroom, the Globalization Lending Box traveled to Ka‘ū High School and Pāhala Elementary School on Hawai’i Island. “Whenever possible, we try to work with teachers so the boxes can be shared among multiple classrooms and schools before they come back to us,” says Sueoka. “It is great to be able to share the museum’s collection statewide, from Lihue to Kaʻū.”
Since October 2016, Sueoka has sent lending boxes to 43 classes on Kaua‘i, Maui, and Hawai‘i Island, sharing 364 objects with 1,623 students.
This outreach tool is just one aspect of the museum’s Learning and Engagement department’s exciting program changes. “We’re starting to coordinate the tours, Lending Collection, and professional development,” explains curriculum specialist and teacher liaison Justin Davies. “The tour is just getting [students’] feet wet, starting to think about art as a lens through which to view this larger phenomenon of globalization. The lending box then extends beyond what they’ve looked at here.”