The Birmingham Museum of Art Launches Digital Asian Art Initiative

/ Kids and Families - Press Release

The Birmingham Museum of Art is pleased to release Culture Bridge: eLearning Across Asia, a platform of digital teacher resources that uses art to enhance and inspire everyday learning. Made possible with a grant by the Freeman Foundation, an organization dedicated to advancing understanding of Asian culture, this initiative provides web tools that allow teachers and students to learn about art from all parts of Asia through educational videos, art activities, and interactive images. The date of the launch comes earlier than anticipated, a timeline accelerated by the COVID-19 health crisis, which has left students learning remotely for the rest of the school year. 

Ganesha, 10th century. Cambodian, Angkor style. Sandstone. Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Charles B. Crow, Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. William A. Grant, Jr., 1978.73

“We are proud to now offer these digital resources intended as a medium for teachers to easily integrate visual art into their curriculum. This platform is designed to foster and enable closer understanding and appreciation of Asian culture through a free and highly accessible way,” says Angela May, Assistant Curator of Education at the Birmingham Museum of Art. “By offering these resources to the public early, the BMA enables parents, students, and teachers alike to take advantage of these eLearning tools during the time they are away from the classroom.”

The Birmingham Museum of Art holds a vast collection of Asian art, representing many regions and cultures across thousands of years. Widely considered to have one of the finest collections of Asian art in the Southeast, the Museum will use Culture Bridge to expand its reach beyond the walls of the Museum, giving any virtual visitor the opportunity to learn about art from China, Japan, Korea, India, and other countries across South and Southeast Asia. 

Illustration by Hannah Adamson

The BMA collaborated with a team of local teachers to ensure that the digital exercises and activities aligned with current curriculum standards and classroom needs. Among the offerings are STEAM-based lesson plans that link the Museum’s collection to relevant academic subjects; interactive images which allow students to explore the symbolism and meaning of a specific work of art; educational videos which review the history of an object; and art activities that encourage students to explore their own creativity and artistic abilities. Many of these resources are now live on the Museum’s website. Over the next several months, additional content will be published on the platform, including lesson plans and additional videos.

“We hope through this platform, we will not only become a hub for Asian digital resources to Alabama schools, but we may also help to advance the understanding and appreciation of Asian cultures, traditions, and art.”