The Center for Educational Partnerships at Old Dominion University is working with the Barry Art Museum to design ways to engage visitors of all ages.
One product of this collaboration is a "Reflections" area set up within an upstairs gallery, where visitors can take part in an activity intended to spur reflection about the artwork and about themselves. During the inaugural exhibition, anyone may draw or write out their responses to the art, and leave these on display.
In addition, as guests enter the museum, they are invited to select a leaflet that suggests ways to connect the world of art to their own life experiences. Small groups, such as families, may use these as conversation starters. However, the prompts are crafted for wide appeal, whether for a cluster of art fans or a solitary patron.
Engagement strategies for larger groups also are being devised, starting with field trip programs suitable for school-aged children and young adults.