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The Arts and U

Enhance classroom teaching through class visits to the museum galleries and explore visual art objects in ways that illuminate course themes.

Utah Museum of Fine Arts Faculty Welcome Night

Honors College assistant professor Christopher Mead is one of many U faculty who’ve discovered the benefits of using the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) to enhance classroom teaching. This year, Mead’s students toured the museum galleries to explore visual art objects in ways that illuminate themes in his Honors Intellectual Traditions course on “The Network.”

“Reading through the course evaluations, I was struck by how many students completed the class with a transformed sense of the important role that art and literature have to play in their lives,” Mead says. “Visits to the UMFA and lessons in visual literacy delivered by UMFA staff play an especially key role in making this exciting change possible.”

A class visits the Utah Museum of Fine Arts’ South Asian gallery.

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As both the state’s and the university’s fine arts museum, the UMFA supports teaching, learning and research by connecting campus audiences to world-class art experiences through a dynamic and comprehensive collection of global art, from antiquity to the present. Professors and students from the Department of Art and Art History are frequent visitors, of course, but also a wide range of faculty and students from disciplines across campus—from classics and environmental humanities to business and the School of Medicine. Medical students use the UMFA to learn the Visual Thinking Strategies method of viewing art and how to use it in interpreting medical imagery.

Wondering how a visit to the museum might enhance your own curriculum and classroom experience? Join us for the UMFA’s annual Faculty Welcome Night on Oct. 16 at 5 p.m. in the G. W. Anderson Family Great Hall. Learn how your university art museum can support your teaching and research through access tailored to your needs. Enjoy drinks and light hors d’oeuvres, meet UMFA staff, mingle with colleagues and browse the galleries. Explore the critically acclaimed temporary exhibition “Power Couples: The Pendant Format in Art,” and discover how the UMFA can be a resource for you and your students. The event is supported in part by UMFA programming sponsor Kem & Carolyn Gardner.

Space is limited to the first 100 people who RSVP to

A class visits the collections storage area.

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The UMFA offers guided and self-guided tours to U professors and museum staff members are happy to help design tours based on course curriculum of any kind. Recent examples include tours examining the theme of stone for an environmental humanities course and a tour examining issues of work and labor. With at least three weeks’ notice, the UMFA welcomes scheduled visits to collections storage for students, teachers and researchers to examine objects that are not on view for educational and research purposes.

Senior curator Whitney Tassie encourages campus educators to reach out, even without firm ideas about the museum can help. “Share with us your research goals or your class syllabus and let’s have a conversation about how the UMFA’s resources—its collection, staff, facility and programs—can illuminate your work,” Tassie says.

Students, staff and faculty are always admitted free to the UMFA, thanks in part to Arts Pass.