Museums always inspire me, and my recent visit to the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH was no exception. The added bonus was seeing Eleanor, one of my former students. She is now in high school. How can that be?
Eleanor was a quiet child when she started preschool. She was always kind, and loved learning new things. She was a ‘reader’, often looking through picture books and sitting up front when I read a story aloud. Fairy tales, particularly Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky captivated Eleanor. I think of looking at the illustration of the tower and ‘figuring out’ how Rapunzel got in. Eleanor liked that challenge. I’m not surprised she is doing well in school.
I remember reading The Story of Little Babaji by Helen Bannerman and watching Eleanor laugh and smile. That was the when she took a big step out of her cautious and quiet self, and she never looked back. Aren’t books and stories powerful! We then began a unit on China. Eleanor brought her Chinese / English dictionary to school. The book was so popular that I bought a big Scholastic Children’s Dictionary for the class. To think that all those years of reading aloud and discussing not only books, but their vocabulary words… and I never had a dictionary on hand for the children. Thank you, Eleanor. It continues to be well used and well loved.
Last year I had a call out of the blue, Eleanor asking me to come to high school on Career Day and talk about being a teacher. That was a special day! Connections with children seem to pop-up unexpectedly. And, frequently. Children like Eleanor have made a difference in both my life and my teaching. Michelle visited the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia to see our classroom quilt. Juliet visited the Museum of Modern Art and saw the original Starry Night painting, which brought back memories in my classroom for her. Both stories are posts on my blog. Making Connections; it makes a difference. Seems like museums have made a difference for children as well.
The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester is New Hampshire’s best kept secret! “Woman Seated in a Chair” by Picasso is one of the prized pieces in their collection, and it did not disappoint. I learned that it was quite an angry and anti-war painting, as Picasso painted it in a tiny apartment in Paris in 1941 with WWII raging in the streets below. I was able to look alongside the frame’s edge, viewing the art from a side angle, and see that the white circles of paint were actually raised. Did you notice the large drawing behind the photo of Eleanor and me? It is one of the few Peter Milton drawings that are in color. The museum has one of his black and white drawings as well. Perhaps my favorite pieces were Flemish renaissance art. There is much to enjoy at the Currier Museum of Art.
I made a wonderful connection with Eleanor. It brings teaching ‘full circle’ because learning and giving are repeated, sometimes decades later, with pleasure.