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Museums are for Everyone

Posted on August 9, 2023 at 7:15 AM by Guest Writer

In the video below, Dr. Michèle Schaal, Associate Professor of French and Women's & Gender Studies, shares why and how she incorporates University Museums into her curriculum at Iowa State University.


  • Dr. Schaal started working with University Museums her first semester teaching at Iowa State in 2012.
  • Knowing ISU had museums was a perk, and Dr. Schaal knew she would use them in her teaching.
  • Because many young people in the United States believe museums are not for them, Dr. Schaal wanted to show her students that museums are for everyone.
  • Smaller museums like the ones on campus are less intimidating for first time visitors. 
  • Dr. Schaal starts by taking classes to exhibits in the Christian Petersen Art Museum because it is located at the center of campus, so within walking distance for students.
  • Dr. Schaal says her most interesting museums-related activity is for her French 302 Reading and Writing in French class: in groups, students choose one French work of art from the permanent collection and the class creates a mock exhibit, then present in French.
  • Another project Dr. Schaal assigns French classes is to write in French about experiences or interpretations of objects.
  • When Dr. Schaal incorporates University Museums into her curriculum, students comment on class evaluations that they enjoy the assignments very much.
  • Art has the possibility to open up doors and build bridges between cultures.
  • As a land grant institution and as an academic institution, one of our goals at Iowa State is to understand the world around us, and art helps us do that.
  • Art is for all. Art can speak. Art is for everyone.


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