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ISU Curriculum Programs

The ability to look closely at visual material and use reasoning to make interpretations and evaluations from observation, is a crucial skill needed to be an effective and adaptive learner at any age, critical thinker and ultimately to better understand our diverse cultural world. University Museums offers a comprehensive Visual Literacy Program for students, faculty and the wider community to teach these invaluable life skills. The Visual Literacy Program uses works of art in the collection to model thinking routines that encourage learners to question and reason, skills that can be applied to any discipline or circumstance.



Visual literacy is the ability to read and understand visual material and is something that we use each and every day regardless of the field of study. In a world where we are inundated with information, it is truly valuable to be able to slow down, look deeply at content and make thoughtful observations. From reading statistical charts, viewing organisms under a microscope, to looking over blueprints and identifying tree species or animal breeds, having well-developed visual acuity is important in all fields.

In the Visual Literacy Program, museum educators and docents lead learners from all disciplines and ages through inquiry and discussion to understand how to better hone their visual literacy skills. Using the University Museums' extensive collection, program participants have the chance to engage with exhibitions, public art across campus, and permanent collection objects. Museum educators offer customized programs for University faculty to integrate visual literacy practice into curricula as well as public programs, K-12 educational opportunities, and visual literacy resources.

 Schedule a visual literacy program.

Questions? Email



Download – Object Learning Worksheet

Download – Seven Ways to Read an Object

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