This is part two of two posts about my experiences at the Beautiful Data: Telling Stories with Open Collections workshop at Harvard University’s metaLAB. Read part one here.
When my teen program started up again this fall, I brought my students into the Milwaukee Art Museum galleries to look at a single work of art for an hour (you can read more about this process here). As usual, I noticed the high schoolers opening up to each other, to new ideas, and to finding ways that art relates to their everyday life—whether a photograph of Milwaukee or a landscape by a Baroque Italian painter. These discussions are guided by the students—I might throw in some useful facts to open up the conversation, but they take the lead. As a result, on any given day, we might relate artworks to religion, politics, narratives, families and friends, or even moods and feelings.