On December 12, 2014, over 100 seventh-graders, from nearby Holland Patent Middle School, boarded a bus for a visit to the Wellin Museum to explore and learn about museums and art. Prior to their visit, Megan Austin and Amber Spadea held an in-school assembly for all students and teachers who joined the field trip. They presented What is a Museum? an overview of how the museum came to be, what is in a museum, and what happens at a museum. The students and teachers were also taught how to read wall text and other museum writings. In preparation for seeing an exhibition that included abstract art, students were shown images of Alyson Shotz’s work and overview photographs of her exhibition Alyson Shotz: Force of Nature.
Upon their arrival, the students were divided into three groups to complete different activities related to their teacher’s assignment. They were tasked with choosing one object in the museum, identifying and classifying that object based upon what they learned from their in-school assembly. Each group was led through Archive Hall, the Visible Storage on the second floor of the museum, and the Dietrich Exhibition Gallery. The middle schoolers arrived with their worksheets and were led through the museum by Hamilton College student docents for a day of looking, learning, and fun with art.