[ MUSEUM-TO-GO PROGRAMS ]
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Rinell Marin tries on a frog mask from Indonesia when "Museum in a Box" came to her third-grade class. Rinell's classmates wait their turn; they are, from left: Tiffany Salyphone, Stephanie Lam, Brianne Serious, Jacky Huang and Susanna Liu.
'Art in a Box'
Hand-woven textiles, animal sculptures, writing tablets from Mesopotamia, porcelain, spices and silk are a few of the treasures found in the Academy of Art's "Museum in a Box."
The traveling museum program recently gave more than a dozen students in Gayle Oura's third-grade class at Kauluwela Elementary School a close look at a frog mask from Indonesia, colorful wooden snake carvings from Mexico and a gold embellished koi fish from Thailand.
The in-school visit is part of the academy's Ambassador Program, a three-part outreach program that combines exploration of the trunk of artifacts, a guided gallery tour and a hands-on art project.
"The children are much more involved when they see the objects before they visit," said Jenny Engle, ambassador program coordinator. "They seem a lot more confident and can answer questions."
The children laughed out loud when academy ambassador Marcia Pasqua presented a sheep sculpture from New Zealand and a pig made of string from New Guinea that is hung in bedrooms to bring sleepers to dreamland.
Eight-year-old Brianne Serious tried on the Indonesian frog mask. "It was my favorite," she said. "It had sharp teeth and big eyes."
Others couldn't pick a favorite. "There were too many to choose from," Nicholas Fang said. "I liked the crocodile and the snake because it was kind of cool, with lots of colors."
Pasqua said the visits help inspire an interest in visiting the museum. "Teachers tell me that the kids were not really interested in going. ... There was not a lot of enthusiasm."
After seeing her trunk of goodies, though, kids' attitudes change. "The kids get to touch everything, and later they go into the museum with a fun expectation," Pasqua said.
She also believes the experience beforehand helps with the no-touching rule at the academy. "They had the special advantage of seeing it up close."
Five themes are available: "Animals in Art," "Hawaii and Its People," "Art of the Philippines," "Art of the Pacific Islands" and "Art of the Ancient Mediterranean."
Oura uses the visit to incorporate a variety of lessons. "I pull from all of the different programs so it makes sense to the kids. They are able to see science-related things in art."
She even uses the art lessons to further explore animal classification, and for writing projects. "The lessons are integrated -- making time to do everything."
"Many of the high school students have never stepped foot in the academy before," added Engle. After each program, students receive free family passes.
"We don't want to exclude anyone. We want the museum to be a resource that everyone can use."
Cost is $150 per classroom. The academy provides bus-service assistance to qualifying groups. Call Jenny Engle at 532-3681 or e-mail email@example.com