Education at The Center touches all areas of its practice. It is structured by three principles: Accessibility, Scholarship, and Community. Museum Learning is central to the spirit of The Center and based on a defined course of action and educational service and practice.
Central to its purpose, though, is the creation of a sense of wonder throughout The Center’s outreach engagement. This is expressed in the relationships between docents and students on tour, between artists and workshop-learners of all ages, between archivists and scholars, and between curators and their multiple audiences. The wonder held by the unique expression that is art is vital to The Center itself through its partnerships with a variety of community organizations, college learners, and virtual visitors. All Center employees are its educators. Education links The Center’s exhibitions and its programs; it maximizes the delivery of museum resources, ranging from the interpretation of The Center’s Gwathmey Siegel building to spot-on, focused labels for exhibitions; it animates the offerings of the Museum Shop; and it is the mark of hospitality – the spirit to share knowledge – held by volunteers, frontline staff, and The Center’s Trustees.
Accessibility is Education’s foundation. It is the daily, hands-on baseline of tours for all ages, programs and brochures, and workshops and seminars. The design of the physical plant allows full access to all who visit. This includes gallery spaces, archives, vault storage, and offices. The Center commits to:
• Provide fundamental access and educational resources to all
• Be respectful of everyone and meet each guest at their intellectual, emotional, and physical level
• Maintain a sincere belief that the ability to interpret, analyze, and make-meaning of works of art belongs to everyone
Scholarship is Education’s gift to the future. It serves the academic as well as the recreational scholar; it accommodates inquiry from the primary grades as well as the postgraduates. It offers paid scholar-in-residence opportunities for academics and artists to conduct advanced research. It presents the opportunity to prioritize production of new discoveries through diverse media. We are committed to the development of a creative and a scholarly community. Our goal is to provide excellence in educational experiences while also seeking to learn the needs of the larger community, through:
• Offering professional development and continuing education for staff, volunteers, Trustees, and the docent team
• Sharing: o The history of Charles E. Burchfield and all regional artists
o The Niagara Frontier story through the arts
o The role of a regional museum
• Providing inquiry-based tours with pre-tour information and post-tour support
• Creating workshops that effectively apply theories articulated through exhibitions and that underscore concepts and intention of the exhibitions
• Delivering opportunities for visitor interactions with artists of all disciplines and curators through tours, docent scholarship, and gallery talks
• Promoting self-exploration and creative self-reliance
Community is Education’s response to our study of the Western New York region’s unfulfilled learning necessities. The Center pays special attention to those challenged with special physical and mental needs and those who have been marginalized, particularly those still new to our nation. The hallmark of our program is a commitment to the development of sustainable partnerships in museum learning with
schools, universities, and community institutions. For there to be a true collaboration, we understand that schools and community agencies have real and fully articulated needs for which The Center can contribute concrete solutions by:
• Administering curricular support and enhancement for area schools K-12
• Working with colleges and universities to augment course studies
• Pledging to work with people that have cognitive, physical, and emotional disabilities
• Committing to work with children and adults for whom English is a second language
• Understanding our obligation to develop new audiences
The Center relies on reflective practice and continually examines its delivery of excellence, based on stated beliefs. It continually gauges quality through direct observation and visitor evaluations.