School districts in Bucks, Montgomery, Berks, and Lehigh Counties, as well as in Philadelphia, have a long tradition of assembling collections of original works of art for display and educational use in public schools.
In an area rich in cultural heritage, many artists—along with lead advocates in education—understood as early as the 1890s the importance of educating children about the arts and exposing them to real objects in the classroom. From then until the mid-1900s, key movements in art appreciation and the study of aesthetics, including Picture Study and Schoolroom Decoration, galvanized schools to collect works of art. School administrators and board members who advocated for the arts, and developed direct connections with artists, brought collections to their fullest potential.
Dedicated, Displayed, Discovered: Celebrating the Region’s School Art Collections will draw from various collections throughout these counties to highlight the historical background of the collections and their artists, their connections to historical movements in education, reasons for their development, their usage in the curriculum, and how teachers and administrators worked with artists of the era. The paintings and archival materials on display illustrate how these collections are relevant to today’s districts and the current movements in arts education.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.