Museum Lesson Plan


My lesson plan is based on multiple visits to the The African Bead Museum and its corresponding installation Iron Teaching Rocks How To Rust. While conversing with the artist on multiple occasions, I learned that Olayemi Dabl’s has an evolutionary history of the acceptance of open viewership of his installation.  Started in the 90’s, Iron Teaching Rocks How To Rust was created in what was then called African Town. Over the past 30 years Dabl’s comfortability with the photographing of his installation directly corresponded with the rise of the installation's popularity on the internet.  Now, Dabl’s invites viewers to photograph and interpret his work as he says his “installations are not done until someone photographs them”.  Visitors of today are invited year round to walk through the installation night and day and visit Dabl’s himself in the bead museum proper.  While the installation is important, The African Bead Museum is Dabl’s crowning glory.  Keeping with the African tradition of artistic trade through marketplace structures, Dabl’s has thousands of beads ranging from 600 year old bronze Yoruba beads from Nigeria to modern glass beads made in Ghana.  It is the combination between the freedom of an outdoor installation and the attribution to the African history of market art that makes The African Bead Museum a truly unique place. 

While talking to Dabl’s I learned that in the early 2000’s he would do artist talks with Detroit school children. He has since abstained from organized field trips, preferring the viewer take control of their own experience.  This makes his installation a perfect place for all ages and levels of cognitive and artistic development.  Using 16-17 year-olds as an example, this installation falls directly within their formal operational cognitive stage because the nature of the exhibition engages their abstract reasoning. Older adolescents will be able to connect to the use of personal voice that Dabl’s expresses through his critique of colonialism throughout installation.  Because this class is developed specifically for black children from Detroit and is considered a camp, there is a combination of facilitator and instructor involved in the teaching style required.  When working with kids from low SES households, being a warm demander is key to creating appropriate and productive teacher/student interaction.  With a focus on building relational trust, my culturally responsive teaching style allows for me to connect with my students on a personal and academic level.

Using Format