In 2019, the Library Gallery received funding from UMBC’s Charlesmead Initiative to create an arts education program for K-8 Baltimore City youth. Curators began a collaborative project with museum educator Willa Banks to develop a curriculum emphasizing hands-on learning and engagement with original artworks through the gallery’s exhibition program and in the holdings of UMBC’s Special Collections.
During the spring 2019 semester, 90 students from Liberty Elementary and Frederick Elementary schools visited the gallery for an interactive tour of the exhibition Antonio McAfee: Through the Layers, Pt. 2 led by the gallery curators. Students enjoyed putting on 3D glasses to view McAfee’s work, saw rare nineteenth-century photographs from UMBC’s Special Collections that the artist manipulates in his digital photographs, and created collage portraits to take home with them. They shared what they learned over snacks, reflecting on what photographs can tell us about history and how portraits reveal (and conceal) personal identity.
Due to COVID-19, the final two class visits scheduled for March and April were canceled. Curators are now adapting the curriculum for the Spring 2021 semester.