Education in Motion: The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Artmobile, 1953 – 1994

Maureen Sarah O'Connor


This essay explores five exhibitions created for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Artmobile, the first mobile art museum in the United States. The mission of the Artmobile was to bring works of art directly to citizens throughout the state of Virginia from 1953 to 1994. In analyzing educational and exhibition materials, such as exhibition booklets, audio guide recordings, press releases, and speeches, this research examines the educational philosophies of each exhibition in relation to contemporaneous museum education literature. Applying Tony Bennett’s analysis of the impact of culture on the social to the creation of educational philosophies, this essay argues that while the mission of the Artmobile remained constant, there was a shift in the educational objective from the development of cultured citizens through art appreciation and the improvement of public taste to fostering individual visual literacy and encouraging visitors to make art historical and personal connections. 


museum education, artmobile, Virginia, exhibition history

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Copyright (c) 2019 Maureen Sarah O'Connor

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