Learning Outside the Classroom at Detroit Institute of Arts

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Learning Outside the Classroom at Detroit Institute of ArtsDIA Learning outside the classroom

One of the reasons that we homeschool our daughter is because we believe that learning doesn’t haven’t to just come from textbooks or a classroom. There are so many opportunities to learn outside the classroom but you need to know where to find them. From math lessons while buying groceries to science experiments at the park, learning is all around us if we just stop and pay attention. One of our favorite ways to learn is by visiting museums and galleries. On a recent trip to Michigan, we took time out from family fun to get some learning in while visiting the Detroit Institute of Arts.

DIA Walk Way

Entrance to DIA

I always loved visiting the Detroit Institute of Arts on field trips when I was in school and wanted my daughter to surround herself with art from multiple time periods. Information can be obtained through text books and pictures viewed online but there there is nothing like seeing the pieces of art in person.

Art exhibits at DIA

The museum has been remodeled since my last visit (many years ago) and I loved the new layout and exhibit set-up. I also enjoyed all the new educational models they have implemented such as “Eye Spy” stations and “Information Booklets” in different exhibits. The booklets provided additional information about the artwork and helps guests learn more about the piece. Plus the “Eye Spy” stations give clues to pieces in the exhibit and provide an interactive experience for young guests.

Play Eye Spy at the DIA

Information Booklet with Exhibit DIA

One of my daughter’s favorite exhibits was the recreation of the Sistine Chapel. This is a picture of the ceiling in the room. If you don’t want to walk with your head tilted up they have a mirror located below which allows you to see the image.

Sistine Chapel Recreation DIA

She also enjoyed walking through the themed exhibits and seeing all the stained glass. We even discovered a spiral staircase that appears to lead no where but leads to the level below if you dare to explore.

StainGlass Window DIA

Cathedral DIA

DIA Spiral Staircase

The Detroit Institute of Arts works with local schools and groups to help children of all ages enjoy a learning-centered visit to the museum. Their staff is trained to work with the children and motivate them to learn through hands on activities and more. They even offer educational workshops for teachers.

Puppets at the DIA

Hanging Art at DIA

The museum also hosts events during the year for children and families to come out and enjoy the museum with special events, drop in workshops, classes and more. Every Saturday and Sunday, the Detroit Institute of Arts turns into the Detroit Institute of Awesome with a weekend full of family friendly activities created for kids and their grown-ups. Activities include art projects, family guided tours, animated films, puppet shows, and more.

Shakespeare Bust DIA

The visit was an amazing learning experience for everyone and my daughter came to realize that she prefers European Art before 1950. She was not a fan of modern pieces but was struck by the beauty and intricate details of the European pieces.

Penelope Marble at DIA

Even though this marble piece is Americana Art we knew we had to remember it because of its name, Penelope. That is my niece’s name, who was also visiting the DIA with us for the first time.

Penelope at the DIA

I was concerned about bringing a little one to the museum but she was fascinated by all the colors, people, and even found a friend before we left that she really wanted to bring home with her. It took several takes to get this shot because she kept trying to touch the artwork.

Jayme and Penelope at DIA

 There is so much to see that you can easily spend an entire day exploring the DIA and they even have a cafeteria and a cafe where you can get something to eat and drink and relax. There is plenty to be seen at the museum and it is the perfect way to learn outside of the classroom without the boundaries of textbooks.

Art Exhibit DIA

African Tribal Costume DIA

Keep up with the latest information by following the DIA online.

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Bones Sculpture Display DIA

How do you take learning outside of the classroom? What is your favorite place to visit and explore?

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  1. says

    I homeschooled my 3 youngest, and now have a granddaughter (who lives with us) who is homeschooling, We find all kinds of ways to learn – in home or out! Last month, we went to Florida for what was to be a 5 day trip and ended up staying almost a month. We didn’t bring any of her curriculum with us, but that was okay. We visited her great grandmother each day (who was in the hospital) and then talk about and researched medical careers, discussed Florida history on the drive to and from the hospital, and learned about the area that we stayed in. At home (while taking care of her great grandfather) we worked on math and reading skills when cooking, played the piano together, did family history (while looking through old albums) and worked on geography by researching all the properties that my parents own in Florida, Missouri and Kansas.

  2. Jenna M Wood says

    This looks like just the sort of program I would have LOVED as a child! I think it’s great there are programs like these for today’s generation!