Friday, November 27, 2009

National Gallery of Art's lending library

I recently learned that the National Gallery of Art lends out educational materials through their Division of Education. Their Education Resources include over 120 items, including CD-ROMs, slides, DVDs, teaching packets, and videos. Topics range from broad-ranging surveys of art to profiles of individuals and specific artistic techniques. Some materials are available for an extended nine-month loan period, to coincide with the school year.

But you don't have to be a teacher or affiliated with a group to use the items. Anyone in the U.S. can borrow materials using the Loan Materials Finder (skip to the last paragraph of this post if you're outside of the U.S.). If you'd rather have a hard copy to browse the collection, request a catalog. More information about borrowing items can be found here. (In short, materials are geared for grades K-12. It takes at least a month to process your request, you can usually keep the materials for two weeks, and you pay return shipping at a reduced [media mail] rate.)

Among the many fascinating titles available through this service, I found several with direct ties to science:

Art + Science = Conservation: Learn about museum conservation techniques used by the NGA in this 19-minute videocassette. (Also available on DVD.)

Art&: A Teacher's Guide to Lessons and Activities for Fifth and Sixth Graders: This four lesson teaching packet includes a segment on Art and Ecology.

John James Audubon: The Birds of America: a 29-minute videocassette with viewer's guide showing his original drawings and engravings. (Also available on DVD.)

Leonardo: To Know How to See: a 58-minute videocassette discussing the works of Renaissance artist / inventor Leonardo da Vinci.

Masters of Illusion: a 30-minute videocassette examining how Renaissance artists changed the depiction of perspective and created illusions of space.

Seeing Color: Object, Light, Observer: a 27-minute video asks "artists, curators, conservation scientists, and science students" to define color. The DVD also includes an examination of pigments, optics, and color vision.

Thomas "Yellowstone" Moran: a 12-minute videocassette detailing his survey of Yellowstone and how that effort helped to found the U.S. National Park System. (Also available on DVD.)

Thomas Moran, circa 1883

Vermeer: Master of Light:
X-ray analysis, infrared reflectography, and computer analysis are used to examine the paintings of Johannes Vermeer in this 58-minute videocassette.

You can also visit the NGA Classroom for online lessons in art and NGAKids for more adventures with art. Enjoy!

Photo credit: Yellowstone National Park, National Park Service

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