Abu Dhabi: 2,000 students, teachers turn Louvre museum into classroom

Students engaged in workshops, explored artworks, and even displayed their projects before a diverse gathering

by

Ashwani Kumar

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Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

Published: Mon 20 May 2024, 6:08 PM

Last updated: Mon 20 May 2024, 10:35 PM

More than 2,000 students and teachers engaged in different, yet immersive and enriching, learning experiences as their classrooms moved to the Louvre Abu Dhabi for a day as part of the museum’s educational initiative.

This month, the popular museum turned into a learning hub where teachers taught in relaxed settings, and students engaged in several activities and workshops, explored artworks, and even displayed their projects before a diverse gathering.


Through its ‘Students Takeover Monday’ programme, the Louvre hosted as many as 1,268 students from Aldar Schools and 791 students from New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD). The initiative provided students with quality learning experiences in an informal learning environment.

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“The change in the physical environment and the expanse under the dome inspires teachers to deliver the curriculum in a creative way, and students responded positively to the new environment," Sarah Louise Nunn, head of education and public programming at Louvre Abu Dhabi, told Khaleej Times.

"Students of every age adapt quickly to the new learning environment. They feel comfortable in the museum space, moving freely through the galleries and across the site,” Nunn added.

Nunn underlined that the initiative provides teachers with the opportunity to expand learning beyond the traditional classroom context and engage their students directly with objects in the collection to explore the history, ideas, design, and more.

“Artworks become entry points into discovering how global cultures lived, investigating mathematical concepts through Islamic art, asking questions, and sharing opinions. Objects become catalysts for discovery, inspiration, interpretation, understanding, and learning,” Nunn said.

Teachers at Aldar Schools noted that the new surroundings helped develop their creativity, and they observed that students benefit from hands-on inquiry-based learning activities that challenged their thinking through gamification and interactive engagement.

“I led an active workshop bringing the tapestries to life using drama skills. It was fantastic to be able to use the Louvre Abu Dhabi, its artefacts, and the space in such a new and dynamic way,” noted Fiona Montgomery, drama teacher.

Jasmin Ferguson, art teacher, pointed out: “To allow students to create art under the dome inspired by the pieces around them was a wonderful experience. The students were able to make tangible links between their learning and the artist's pieces.”

Talking about exploring the creative side, Elizabeth Winters, geography teacher, highlighted: “We made use of the map room to complete treasure-hunt-style tasks. The students had an extra level of engagement, learning outside of the classroom.”

Lucy Coulthard, design and technology teacher, noted: “Students really enjoyed the opportunity to experience the artefacts and the amazing space from a different viewpoint; using the opportunity to look at art from other subject perspectives.”

Learning in a museum setting positively affects children’s confidence and language skills, said students from Aldar Schools.

“I liked having the opportunity to create my own art surrounded by real-life artwork,” Aayah said.

Omar noted: “We got to be in the museum without anyone else there and find out about the art from our teachers, it was so much fun.”

Jana chipped in: “We got to explore and learn fun facts that I never knew about the art.”

Meanwhile, from a university perspective, Nunn pointed out that the museum became a platform for professors to host classes; a place for students to partake in workshops, engage in creative encounters at the galleries, and socialise with their community under the iconic dome.

Mariet Westermann, Vice Chancellor, NYUAD, termed the museum an “inspiring treasure house of world culture and history”.

“Hundreds of NYUAD community members loved the marvellous art, the absorbing building, and the magnificent hospitality. I expect we will all be back and bring our friends,” Westermann said.

NYUAD student Violet Hyun was glad at the opportunity to present her project ‘Gardens by the Clouds (Compliment Bot)’ to a diverse audience.

“This opportunity allowed me to engage with a wide range of viewers outside of the academic sphere, helping me refine how I communicate the message of my art to different people,” Hyun said.

Nunn pointed out that all educational institutions are welcome to connect with the education department to take part in the programme.

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