UMC New Britain Collaborative on the Cutting Edge: University, Museum, Community Collaboration

By Barbara Clark and Karen Ritzenhoff.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In conjunction with the New Britain Museum of American Art, Central Connecticut State University established a committee of professors to investigate the development of a unified arts night at the museum. The purpose of the UMC Collaborative was to unite the university, museum, and the community to celebrate diversity of cultures and the diversity of CCSU student’s visions within the context of the museum collection. The first annual “CCSU Night at the Museum” presented student works from CCSU departments including: Art; Communication; English; History; Latin American Studies; Modern Languages; Music; Teacher Education; Theatre; Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies; and the Graphics/School of Technology. A local urban elementary school presented their drumline titled, “Hot Stixx” and dancers from a local New Britain boys and girls club performed, integrating the concept of musicality of African Americans in relation to the Thomas Hart Benton murals. The CCSU Night at the Museum began at the university campus with a mural bus tour highlighting murals on campus, around the local community and culminating at the NBMAA. This presentation will articulate the development of the UMC Collaborative, and present student artifacts and performances related to Benton (1932) murals, “Arts of life in America,” past to present.

Keywords: University, Museum, Collaborative, Culture, Communication, Education

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.63-78. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.612MB).

Dr. Barbara Clark

Assistant Professor of Education, Central Connecticut State University, Connecticut, USA

Barbara Clark completed her doctorate in 2004 at the University of Hartford in Hartford, Connecticut. Recently her research on moral imagination entitled, Moral Imagination and Art: Echoes from a Child’s Soul was published in the Forum of Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table at Harris Manchester College in the University of Oxford. Before coming to the Teacher Education Department at Central Connecticut State University Barbara mentored and taught courses for Prescott College’s Adult Degree Program for Teacher Certification including Curriculum Design, Educational Psychology, Multiculturalism, Mainstreaming and Arts Methods. Barbara attended Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, The Project Zero Institute in 1998 and 1999 to present work on reflective thinking and artistic expression in children. Barbara’s work in urban schools promotes increased academic success through creative programs especially for those children considered at-risk.

Dr. Karen Ritzenhoff

Associate Professor, Department of Communication, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, Connecticut, USA

Dr. Karen Ritzenhoff teaches television and film in the Department of Communication at Central Connecticut State University. She has been organizing a biennial “women and film” festival in conjunction with the New Britain Museum of American Art since 2002. The UMC New Britain Collaborative grew out of this event. Drs. Barbara Clark and Ritzenhoff have co-coordinated the first “CCSU Night at the Museum” in November 2007, involving ten departments and programs across the University to celebrate student accomplishments in the arts. The initiative explores new possibilities to draw from Museum holdings for interdisciplinary studies across the curriculum.


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