Young art lovers take over MU art museum

By PAUL MOSSINE
neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

Cindy Robb looks at her selected work, "River Bank."

Sometimes the most enthusiastic teachers are students.

Reversing their usual academic roles to teach others about art ranging from ancient pottery to modern sculpture, students from Lee Elementary stood by their favorite works at the MU Museum of Art and Archaeology on Wednesday, eagerly explaining them to passers-by.

Associate Museum Educator Cathy Callaway said it was the fifth year in a row that the museum and Lee School had teamed up, encouraging students to become junior docents for a night.

A docent is defined as a knowledgeable guide, especially one who conducts visitors through a museum and delivers a commentary on the exhibition.

Lee School art teacher Ann Mehr said the children had to apply for the program, explaining why they wanted to engage with the art. Glossy printouts of selected works were supplied to the students, after which they did extra research to become experts on their pieces.

“It took me a long while of teaching to realize that the really cool things about teaching happen when the children are teaching,” Mehr said. “And not only that, but that they happen in the real world. It’s not just a fill-in-the-blank or staring at a computer screen or even in a book. It’s in front of the real thing, in front of a real artifact that the children have chosen.”

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