Recognizing how diverse delivery methods and techniques for distance learning can be, Crystal Bridges embarked on a multi-faceted approach to understand the current landscape of distance learning in art museums, as well as to envision the future. Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Center for Research on Rural Education examined the history of distance learning programs offered by art museums, as well as current initiatives and future possibilities and compiled the research report, Bridging the Gap: Expanding Access to Visual Arts through Distance Technology.
A literature review is also part of the report and was compiled through research in publications, qualitative interviews, and from the presentations at Crystal Bridges’ first Distance Learning Summit, held in July 2013. The Summit hosted more than 40 representatives from museums and other institutions across the country at Crystal Bridges. A diverse array of programs was presented in a case-study format to examine current trends in the field. Following the case studies, participants envisioned the future of distance learning, with the help of a facilitator.
Crystal Bridges hosted a second Distance Learning Summit: Art Museums and Educational Innovation in November 2015. The Summit was an opportunity for art museum educators, technology and media specialists, K–12 reformers, and educational entrepreneurs to come together to explore key questions. This report summarizes the key findings from the Summit.
These resources are for museums and educators as they embark on their distance learning initiatives. Distance learning offers art museums a unique opportunity to directly create and deliver content to students, to cross institutional boundaries, and to reach students we never thought possible.