Crystal Bridges research 

Crystal Bridges research

A recent blog post by Max Brantley wishes to express a variety of negative conclusions about a University of Arkansas study of the educational effect of school field trips to Crystal Bridges. Those of us in the museum field might look at the study from a different perspective. We are often asked to justify ourselves with more than the usual quality of life platitudes. "The society is better because of institutions like this" works for me, because it is true, but for those who want rigorously achieved results, the Crystal Bridges study is a blessing. Unless the researchers are lying about their process, we have excellent documentation in the study that museums can make a difference in several areas. Among the reasons that they used Crystal Bridges was the fact that they could control the variables. Those of us in museums that were not involved in the study will have no problem in citing the study as one more piece of evidence in favor of supporting museums — our museums. Relying on a possibly faulty memory of a presentation on the study at the Arkansas Museums Association meeting last March, I think I remember that empathy was increased by the museum visit. Maybe Mr. Brantley needs to visit museums more often.

Bill Worthen

Little Rock

(Worthen is director of the Historic Arkansas Museum)

Visionary connection

As always, enjoyed your "Visionary Arkansans" piece. Found a quick and (to me) interesting tidbit: Matt Price is the first Arkansan featured, and across the fold in the portion about Theo Witsell, there is a connection to Mr. Price. The "amateur botanist" mentioned for which Pelton's rose gentian was named can only be Matt Price's grandfather, whose photographs of wildflowers would be at home in any great museum of natural history. I just happened to observe this because I happen to be related to them myself. Arkansas is still kind of a small place.

Chris Hoggard

Little Rock

From the web

In response to an Arkansas blog citation of Ernie Dumas' column on the dangers of putting guns in schools:

Educators should not be furthering the wild-west "cowboy" story, thus amplifying the National Rifle Association's contention that firearms are essential implements of manly heroism. I don't want our schools promoting false values and an ultimately destructive culture of violence as the only or the best remedy to violence.

Snapback

In response to an Arkansas blog item on University of Arkansas research on the value of a field trip to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art:

"For example, 88 percent of the students who saw the Eastman Johnson painting, At the Camp — Spinning Yarns and Whittling, knew when surveyed weeks later that the painting depicts abolitionists making maple syrup to undermine the sugar industry, which relied upon slave labor. Among students who saw Thomas Hart Benton's Ploughing It Under, 79 percent could recall that it is a depiction of a farmer destroying his crops as part of a Depression-era price support program."

It would be extremely remarkable if students remembered two among hundreds of paintings in so much detail. Either they were prepped for the study, or the questions (no doubt multiple choice) were designed to be obvious. Sorry to be so negative but that doesn't pass the smell test.

TM

As a former AR public school teacher in the Ozarks, I can attest to the value of SOME field trips. Imagine exposing a young teen to her first escalator! Field trips are a teacher's way of teaching outside the box for the teachers who use the opportunity to do so. However, as Maxifer mentions, it is much work on the teacher before, during, and after the trip. Getting qualified subs for my class was my biggest nightmare since I returned from one trip to find the substitute had "taught" the students "ain't" was correct. Ugh.

Charlene Elizabeth Jones

In response to The Observer's column about "Fiat Flux," the writings of Dr. W.R. Bachelor edited by historian William D. Lindsey:

Observer, I am very grateful for your kind review of my book about Wilson Bachelor, and I very much agree with you about his attractiveness as a writer and thinker.

I did want to point out that you have my middle initial slightly wrong, though. It's D. for Dennis and not B. for, well, the many things B. might stand for. Thank you again for your kind remarks about the book and for recommending Dr. Bachelor's work to others.

William D. Lindsey

In response to an article in the Sept. 5 issue about Matt Bell's Blue Hog reporting on Lt. Gov. Mark Darr's problematic expense report:

Some of us might call this the free market at work. Maybe Tolbert will look at the Democrats reports. It's all good. From the other side of the aisle, kudos to Matt.

Dreaming of a day when Matt outs Shoffner and Bookout and Tolbert outs Darr and Hutchinson, but for now the checks and balances of party competition will have to suffice.

Theodosius

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Most Shared

Latest in Letters

  • Remembering Howard Baker

    Howard Baker died in late June. The former Tennessee senator was one of the last moderate conservatives in the Republican Party.
    • Aug 28, 2014
  • Arkansas needs to take responsibility

    Recently, two Arkansas legislative committees approved a resolution opposing the proposed EPA carbon pollution standards (the Clean Power Plan), which requires states to develop and implement plans to reduce carbon emissions. I appreciate the Aug. 12 Arkansas Blog post by Benjamin Hardy, which presents facts about the EPA rule proposed in June, and suggests that the committees' resolution was a political stunt. A subsequent blog post by Hardy reported that a leading energy efficiency expert praised Arkansas efforts to develop a state implementation plan to curb carbon emissions.
    • Aug 21, 2014
  • Democrats and poverty

    Why do liberals hate the poor? You somehow equate being unwilling to give up American sovereignty and not leaving our southern border unsecured as "Heartless" (Week That Was, Aug. 7).
    • Aug 14, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

August

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31  

Most Viewed

  • Visionary Arkansans 2014

    They make an impact in science, arts, social justice.
  • Homicide Diary: Sgt. Willie Davis

    'We're not talking, we're shooting'
  • Aging well

    The Observer's father developed a dairy allergy toward the end of his high school years, the product of a bona fide milkoholism Yours Truly duly inherited. Our affection for the 2 percent runs as deep as the wellspring of chocolate syrup we've preserved in The Observatory's refrigerator door for so many-odd years. You might then sympathize with our frustration (and our nausea) when, one recent night, we pulled out the gallon jug and encountered a mostly liquid solution. Hard to believe that stomach-turning goop is the stuff delicious cheese is made from.
  • Randy Alexander wants to tell you a story about a young man who thought he was a dog

    Also, Mark Pryor owns up to voting for something that rhymes with Rowbomacare, Mark Darr is a deadbeat, Harrison struggles with African geography and Arkansas health care gets a boost.
  • Remembering Howard Baker

    Howard Baker died in late June. The former Tennessee senator was one of the last moderate conservatives in the Republican Party.

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation