Thinking Through Art

Thinking Through Art: Overview

Transforming Museum Curriculum
What kinds of programming should an art museum’s education department offer to the K–12 school community? How can we best contribute to students’ current and future intellectual development? What type of programming best fits the needs of students and teachers, while also addressing the unique aspects of the museum setting? Watch a video on Thinking Through Art here, or read more in the document below.

Research Study: How an Art Museum Multiple-Visit Program Can Facilitate Critical Thinking Amongst 3rd, 4th, and 5th Graders

In 2003, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Institute for Learning Innovation Institute received a 3-year grant from the Federal Department of Education to research students’ learning in and from art museum multiple-visit programs.

Research efforts within this grant are focused on assessing the effects of participation in an art museum multiple-visit program on the development of elementary students’ critical thinking skills. The Gardner's School Partnership Program (SPP), a multiple-visit program serving K-8, students from neighboring city public schools, provides the context for this study.

In the third and final year of the grant, research efforts were focused on better understanding how an art museum multiple visit program can facilitate critical thinking amongst participating 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.

Specifically, the study was designed to answer three specific research questions:
1.) How does participation in SPP influence students’ individual critical thinking skills?
2.) How does it influence students’ critical thinking skills within a social context in the museum?
3.) How does it influence students’ critical thinking skills on standardized tests?

Learn more about the Thinking Through Art Research Project