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Virtual art tours from Shawnee's MGMoA reach classrooms beyond Oklahoma

Special to the News-Star
Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee becomes popular in virtual classrooms states away.

It looks like the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art has classrooms buzzing in Wisconsin and Illinois because of its virtual art tours.

The MGMoA was excited to see virtual art tour requests from two schools that were from beyond Oklahoma. The first request came from the state of Wisconsin from the Milwaukee Scholars Charter School requesting a virtual art tour over the MGMoA’s Native American collection. The students and teachers saw the various Native American artifacts and art pieces in the MGMoA gallery as Amber DuBoise-Shepherd explained the various uses of the objects from Oklahoma tribes. The manager of education, DuBoise-Shepherd is of Navajo, Sac & Fox, and Prairie Band Potawatomi descendent and enjoys teaching students about her culture and traditions.

“One comment I remember was from a young lady who told me that she would rock my Navajo regalia,” said DuBoise-Shepherd. 

The Federico Garcia Lorca Elementary School in Chicago also requested a virtual art tour over the Egyptian Collection. Dick Trim, a docent of the museum, led this tour over the Egyptian Collection with his own collection of items to explain the process of mummification and Egyptian culture. The students all had amazing questions about Egypt for Trim and DuBoise-Shepherd. The students finished up their tour by learning about and drawing a scarab beetle. One of the teachers on the virtual tour said, “My students were genuinely very interested and remained engaged for the entire tour. In fact, I sort of had to 'watch' them instead of the presentation, and I saw jaws drop.”

Many students were excited to meet Tutu, an Egyptian mummy that is 2,400 years old.

Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee becomes popular in virtual classrooms states away.

Even though the MGMoA is not hosting any in-person school or group tours at this time, they are working to impact students in positive, fun, and educational ways with these virtual tours, bringing the world to their virtual classrooms.

The MGMoA encourages educators to reach out if they would like to learn more. The virtual tours are free for schools and home-school groups. The museum is also offering virtual art tours to adult groups for a flat fee of $40. To register for a virtual art tour please visit the MGMoA website at www.mgmoa.org/engage and fill out the form provided. For questions, please email education@mgmoa.org or call 405-878-5605.

The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, with an admission fee. The MGMoA is limiting 10 individuals at one time in the gallery. Masks are required in the museum. Hand sanitizing stations are available in the lobby. The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art is located on the OBU Green campus, 1900 W. MacArthur St. in Shawnee.  The museum is funded in part by the Avedis Foundation, Oklahoma Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and Allied Arts.