By Mary O’KEEFE
Mountain Avenue Elementary sixth graders went on a field trip this week and only had to go as far as the front of their school. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art pulled its Ancient World mobile museum up to the school on Tuesday and opened its doors for the students.
“This is an outreach program for the schools in Los Angeles County. All teachers have to do is sign up,” said Ninyshka Sanchez, museum educator.
The semi truck’s exterior was decorated with Egyptian artwork and hieroglyphics. The interior of the truck was decorated on one side with ancient Egyptian works and on the other side with Hindu and ancient Greek and Roman art. There are desks on either of the interior and a video screen at the far end where instructors talk about the ancient world.
“You see this sarcophagus?” asked Derek Gaugis, museum educator. “The side of the wall of the mobile is lined with artwork that was [copied] from the side of this sarcophagus.”
The students had studied the ancient worlds prior to the mobile’s arrival and demonstrated that they had a solid knowledge base.
“What was the [primary] use of the Nile River?” asked Gaugis.
“Transportation,” answered the students.
Students learned that ancient Egyptian tombs had arches, which indicated a transport.
“So their tomb was not a permanent place, but for your soul it was a transport to the [other side],” Gaugis said.
Students learned about the beliefs of the ancient world and what it meant to live a virtuous life, and about the afterlife and the honoring of ancestors through works of art. After the lectures they were allowed to design and paint tiles that were baked at the mobile museum.
The outreach program included the activities within the mobile and a future field trip to the museum.
The instructors prepared them about the artwork they would see at the museum, delving into the purpose of each piece. When the students go to the museum they will see art with a more discerning eye.
“I thought this was very interesting,” said sixth grader Anthony Reyes.
Student John Lee worked on his design for his tile.
“I chose a design from the ancient Greek and Roman motif,” he said.
Rochelle Guandique first penciled her Lotus blossom design onto her tile then began to paint it.
“I liked creativity of the artwork. I have learned a lot from this,” she said.
“I liked that we learned more about Hindu art,” added Lily Shaw.
The instruction was aligned with the California standards for history and social science, visual arts and English language arts.
Students learned about the art objects they would see when they went on a future field trip Greek and Romans as well as Hinduism.