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June 25, 2004

LOS ANGELES—The Getty has been recognized for its achievements and leadership in museum education by the American Association of Museums (AAM) with two prizes in the 2004 Museum Education Awards. Top honors went to the Getty's Language Through Art: An ESL Enrichment Curriculum as the best resource for educators, and the Be a Getty Art Detective/Explore the Architecture and Gardens guide, which was named best museum guide.

 The awards were given out by AAM's Education Committee (EdCom), which since 1983 has recognized outstanding contributions to museum education by individual practitioners, museums offering distinguished programs, and individuals whose leadership at the national level has influenced the public dimension of the museum. These latest awards reflect the Getty's strong commitment to education for all audiences. The award-winning ESL curriculum, which serves adult learners of English as a second language, and the Art Detective guide, designed for kids and their families, are examples of the progressive programs developed by the Getty as part of its educational mission.

 The Getty's Language Through Art: An ESL Enrichment Curriculum was honored in the Excellence in Educator Resources category, which recognizes outstanding models developed for teachers. This focus on adults and ESL speakers is relatively unique among American art museums, making the Getty a leader in the field. The award recognizes the curriculum's exceptional ease of use, clarity, and ability to engage an underserved segment of the museum audience.

 The curriculum uses art from the Getty's collections to enhance language skills.  Each lesson plan involves a viewing of artworks, discussions, writing activities, and museum visits. Students, who include many immigrant adults, are encouraged to express their thoughts, relating the art they see to their personal experiences. 

 "We recognize that many people relate better to images than text, and that art can stimulate curiosity and provide connections to personal experience," says Peggy Fogelman, the Getty Museum's assistant director for education and interpretive programs. "We focus on art that relates to people's own lives. For instance, a Dutch landscape painting can lead to explorations of homeland, memory, and the evocative aspects of natural setting. Landscape is all around us, and we experience it every day, so it provides a rich basis for discussion and writing. In using images of art from the Getty's collections, the ESL curriculum enlivens classroom strategies for teaching reading, writing, and oral presentation skills."

 The Language Through Art curriculum was first developed by the Getty in partnership with Los Angeles-area ESL teachers from Evans Community Adult School, Puente Learning Center, Van Nuys Community Adult School, and Venice Community Adult School. It has been tested and refined through ongoing classroom use. The curriculum is available to all educators on the Web at

 The Getty's Be a Getty Art Detective/Explore the Architecture and Gardens guide was awarded first place in the Excellence in Published Resources category, which recognizes outstanding materials developed for educators, families, children, and other audiences in print or multimedia formats. The fun, user-friendly guides, available in English and Spanish, are designed to engage kids and their families in an imaginative exploration of the Getty Center.

 "Art Detective Cards help families share a meaningful experience with works of art and architecture," explains Fogelman. "The cards are visually dynamic and just the right size for little hands. Adults and kids can work together to find answers to the questions by collaborating with each other and discussing what they see. Enjoying their time together and enjoying the works of art are integrally linked, and that's a successful formula for family learning in museums."

 Judging for the awards was based upon the 2001 EdCom criteria publication Excellence in Practice: Museum Education Standards and Principles. The awards committee this year included Suzy Harris, Birmingham Museum of Art; Scott Kratz, Autry National Center; Jean Souza, Art Institute of Chicago; Maxine Gaiber, San Diego Museum of Art; Elizabeth Gerber, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Denise A. Gray, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Sofia Gutierrez, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Seonaid McArthur, San Diego Mesa College.

Thea Page
Getty Communications Dept.

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The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

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