This article brings three scholarly and professional perspectives to bear on museum-based learning experiences for undergraduate pre-medical and STEM students. In the first section, Marcia Brennan describes the seminar on “Medicine and the Museum: Clinical Aesthetics and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston” that she teaches at Rice University. Brennan is a modernist art historian, and her discussion focuses on the ways in which classes such as this can contribute meaningfully to undergraduate pre-medical and STEM education. Brennan collaborated with Joshua Eyler, who served as Executive Director of Rice University’s Center for Teaching Excellence. In the second section, Eyler discusses the content and results of the accompanying questionnaires that were devised to assess the overall effectiveness of the pedagogical strategy. The tabulated data results are included for each of the measured sections, which encompass the students’ abilities to make detailed visual observations and to formulate descriptions of complex subjects; to gauge their sensitivity to ethical concerns and their level of empathy regarding the emotional issues involved in caregiving; and to assess their understanding of the ways in which museums can serve as tools for continual learning and self-care. The final section is by Kelley Magill, an art historian who serves as University Programs Specialist for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Writing from the perspective of the museum educator, Magill comments on Brennan’s seminar, and she provides a complementary perspective on the role and impact of the fine arts museum within higher education.
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Brennan, Marcia. 2020. "Medicine and the Museum: An Experiential Case Study in Art History Pedagogy and Practice." Art History Pedagogy & Practice 5, (1). https://academicworks.cuny.edu/ahpp/vol5/iss1/2