Recently Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced the results of a study that demonstrated the positive effects of an educational museum experience on K-12 students. Now the museum seeks to encourage the development of high-quality arts-related curriculum through the founding of a research fellowship for high school teachers. The William Reese Company Teacher Fellowship seeks to enrich high school curriculum by encouraging research into the development of interdisciplinary connections between American art and core curriculum subjects of language arts, history, social studies, and the sciences.
The fellowship was established by the William Reese Company of New Haven, Conn, which works with collectors and institutions in the acquisition of rare books and manuscripts as well as in collection development. The company, which was instrumental in helping Crystal Bridges develop its inaugural library holdings, has also established Reese Fellowships which encourage research in the history of the book and other print formats, The William Reese Company Teacher Fellowship at Crystal Bridges will be administered by the Crystal Bridges Library.
"In 1998, I began a fellowship program to bring scholars to research libraries in the field of American history, and since then the Reese Company has funded more than 200 fellowships for graduate students and senior scholars,” said William Reese. “My work with libraries as a bookseller and board member has convinced me that providing the same research opportunities to high school teachers can have an extraordinary impact on their careers and their students. I am very pleased to work in partnership with Crystal Bridges on this pioneering program."
High school educators value libraries and what they have to offer in terms of 21st-century information literacy skills that can both facilitate creative learning and be passed along to students. “What distinguishes the Reese Teacher Fellowship is its relationship with the Crystal Bridges Library coupled with the guiding principal of advancing high school teacher education,” said Zev Slurzburg, Crystal Bridges school and community programs manager. “The Fellowship is designed to encourage creative research projects that draw on the assets of the library to create arts-integrated curriculum to enhance traditional teaching methods and student engagement.”
“There are unique and rare items in the museum library, and many are primary resources that help substantiate the story of American art,” said Catherine Petersen, director of the Crystal Bridges Library. “A handwritten letter, or an 18th-century colored lithograph of a plant, or an atlas from a western geological survey from the 1870s can engage students in exciting cross-discipline learning.”
The Reese Teacher Fellowship is open to high school educators affiliated with a public, private, or charter school. The Fellowship will be a one-month residential program that includes a $4,000 stipend which may be used to cover transportation and housing costs during the recipient’s residency at Crystal Bridges. Fellows will be selected on the basis of their project narrative and the potential to enrich high school curriculum based on an interdisciplinary connection between American art primary and secondary print resources and a subject topic. Curriculum subject areas may be language arts, history, social studies, or sciences focused, and contribute to the understanding of a topic as it intersects with American art. Creative research projects that seek to enhance traditional teaching methods and engagement are particularly encouraged. Fellows will have access to the art and library special collections of Crystal Bridges as well as the University of Arkansas Libraries in nearby Fayetteville.
“Crystal Bridges Library offers not only a collection of more than 50,000 volumes of art reference material, it also includes substantial holdings of primary resources relating to American art history in the special collection and archives,” explained Crystal Bridges Library Director Catherine Petersen. “With Crystal Bridges’ mission-directed emphasis on education, our library makes an ideal base from which to conduct research meant to enhance art-based pedagogy.”
Information on applying for the Reese Teacher Fellowship is available at https://crystalbridges.org/library/reese-teacher-fellowship/. Applications will be accepted through March 1, 2014. Qualified applications will be reviewed by a committee representing Crystal Bridges library, education, and curatorial departments and one external reviewer. The selection of the Reese Teacher Fellow will be announced in March for a summer 2014 residency.