Popular Albany Museum of Art Programs Move to a Virtual Classroom

Staff Report From Albany CEO

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

Two popular Albany Museum of Art education programs—Toddler Takeover and Homeschool Day—will return next week in a new online format. Both programs will continue online until the museum, which is closed to the public in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, reopens.

“While the doors are closed, the AMA staff is working hard to be a shining light and offer programs to families in their own homes,” AMA Director of Education and Public Programming Annie Vanoteghem said. “We have adapted our regularly scheduled Toddler Takeover and Homeschool Day from our typical museum meetings to virtual meetings.

“While we miss welcoming the kiddos into our space, we hope that these families will take this opportunity to welcome us to their homes via webcam!”

The programs will be conducted free of charge to participants, she said. The number, however, will be limited to ensure participants have the best possible experience.

“We want to make this accessible to everyone that we can during this difficult time, and therefore will not be charging any fees,” she said. “All you have to do is email annie.vanoteghem@albanymuseum.com to sign up.”

Toddler Takeover is normally conducted at the AMA on the first Tuesday of the month. The program is geared toward children ages 15 months to three years old and their caregivers, but also is sibling friendly. It features a story and art activity.

The toddler program will be conducted at the usual time—10:30-11 am—on Tuesday, April 14 and on Tuesday, May 5.

“Toddlers will engage with their small peers over video as we read books, sing songs, and get excited about shapes and colors,” Vanoteghem said. “Their caregivers will also have the opportunity to have some interactions with others and share their good cheer.”

Homeschool Day is a program for homeschooled students and focuses on ages K-5th grade. It incorporates STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education with an art activity usually coordinated with a current AMA exhibition.

The homeschool program will be conducted at its usual time of 11 am on Thursday, April 16 and Thursday, May 14. The online session is expected to be 45 minutes to an hour long.

Homeschool Day also will be interactive in a more advanced fashion. Students will take a look at a famous work of art and discuss it together using VTS (Visual Thinking Strategies) and apply that knowledge to a project with materials they already have at home,” Vanoteghem said. “This will be a great way to let our kids and caregivers interact, learn, and have fun!”

The Albany Museum of Art has been closed to the public since March 18 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Museum officials are monitoring recommendations and directives from health and government officials to determine when reopening the museum will be safe for members, guests and staff.

“We hope parents and children also will check out our AMA kids blog, Staying Inspired!, for daily art lessons and other resources,” Vanoteghem said.

Vanoteghem’s Staying Inspired! blog is available every weekday to families who are looking for STEAM-themed activities that also are fun and engaging for their kids, as well as the adults in the household.

A new blog is posted at albanymuseum.com/kids-staying-inspired each weekday by 5 pm. A link can be found as soon as each blog is posted at the AMA’s Facebook page, AlbanyMuseumOfArt.