Student Programs

K-12 Virtual Workshops 2020–2021

The Wellin Museum’s virtual K-12 workshops are designed to encourage creative engagement with art through interactive art activities and small group discussion. These programs support all areas of learning by helping students strengthen critical skills such as observing, describing, reasoning with evidence, questioning, connecting ideas, and listening to points of view that differ from their own.

Each workshop incorporates a mindfulness moment and related artmaking activities that can be completed at home. Teachers receive a digital portfolio of images to explore with their students. As a follow-up to the workshop, teachers may sign up for a virtual Art Share session in which their students can share works in progress or completed art projects that they made after the workshop.

This year’s workshops are focused on the exhibition Michael Rakowitz: Nimrud. Each topic is designed for a suggested age level, but can be adapted to any group.

Teachers may request a workshop on a date and time that is convenient for their class. Workshops are limited to thirty people per session.
Wellin school programs are free of charge.

Docents at the Wellin Museum

As a teaching museum, the Wellin offers experiential learning opportunities to students. All tours and programs are led by docents in collaboration with museum education staff. Docents are Hamilton College students who act as educational guides through our exhibitions and collections. They come from a wide range of backgrounds and offer their own academic knowledge, creating a unique, personalized, and fresh perspective while discussing the artwork on view. Hamilton College’s mission highlights “education in all its forms,” and this approach is at the core of the Wellin Museum’s interdisciplinary approach for all of our visitors.


2020–2021 Program Themes

Elementary School | Creative Food Trucks
Duration: 45 minutes

What do food trucks have to do with art? Our favorite foods connect us with other people through shared meals and the comforts of home. Meals and ingredients can also be important symbols of culture and heritage. Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz turns the foods of his culture into art by sharing the meals and ingredients of his upbringing with others. This has taken multiple forms, including a free food truck serving traditional Iraqi dishes, and elaborate papier mache artworks made from food products imported from the Middle East to the U.S. His work shows us that art is a powerful tool for encouraging understanding and cross-cultural communication.

In this workshop, students will investigate Michael Rakowitz’s latest work: a recreation of a banquet hall from the ancient palace of Nimrud in Assyria (modern-day Iraq). Students will examine the wide range of patterns, textures, and colors in the panels made from food wrappers decorating the hall. They will be invited to think about the foods and meals important to their family and design their own food truck showcasing the special ingredients and recipes in their own culture. 

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Middle School | Protective Spirits
Duration: 45 minutes

Michael Rakowitz’s colorful, immersive artworks are inspired by the ancient palace of Nimrud, the capital of the Assyrian Empire for over 150 years (879–706 BCE). The ancient palace walls were covered with stone carvings incorporating symbols and myths of Assyrian culture. In the nineteenth century, Nimrud was rediscovered by amateur archeologist Austen Henry Layard and became an important site for research and excavation. Pieces of the palace were subsequently removed and distributed to museums and colleges around the world (including Hamilton College). 

In the exhibition Michael Rakowitz: Nimrud, the artist recreates one room of the palace, representing the missing pieces as black fissures and patches. Instead of stone, colorful packaging from foods imported from the Middle East connect the carvings to the vibrant Assyrian communities of today. In 2015, the site of Nimrud was destroyed in an act of war carried out by the Islamic State. Today, Rakowitz’s work stands as a contemporary monument to Assyrian history, people, and culture.

In this workshop, participants will learn about the symbolism and iconography of ancient Assyrian artwork and delve into Rakowitz’s representation of the missing pieces from the palace of Nimrud. They will reflect on the people, pets, and objects that make them feel safe and be invited to create a drawing or collage inspired by the protective spirits of Assyrian myth.

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High School | Ancient Worlds and Personal Emblems
Duration: 45 minutes

This virtual workshop will investigate the complexity of people and their origins, and how art plays a role in defining and expressing identity today. By diving into the exhibition Michael Rakowitz: Nimrud, participants will learn about contemporary art and culture related to the ancient city of Nimrud, located in modern-day Iraq. 

Participants will learn about the artist Michael Rakowitz and analyze works of art using artful thinking routines. They will "DJ the artwork," making a connection between music and visual art, and reflect on the images and stories that are important to their own self-expression. At the end of the workshop, students will be invited to create a personal emblem combining imagery that is important to them, using elements of design such as contrast, repetition, and layering.

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