In July of 2003, the Ransom Center held its first annual Summer Teacher Institute, a program that provides local primary and secondary teachers with a behind-the-scenes introduction to the Center and its holdings.
The Institute's inaugural class included fifteen teachers from around central Texas. Over the course of the four-day program, teachers received guided tours of the Ransom Center's photography and conservation departments, reading room, and new galleries. They were also introduced to the exhibition Make It New: The Rise of Modernism. Institute participants discussed the exhibition with Ransom Center curators and then developed curricular materials related to the exhibition's contents and central themes. These materials are now available on the Ransom Center website to educational groups planning to tour the exhibition.
According to all involved, the Institute was a resounding success. Participants' evaluations of the Institute were uniformly high. Several teachers noted that the program was the most meaningful, rigorous, and intellectually stimulating professional training workshop they had ever attended.
The Institute organizers -- Curator of Public Programs Oliver Franklin, Educational Specialist Sally Partridge, and myself -- are busy planning the next Institute, scheduled for June 14-17, 2004. Information and applications are available on the new "Educational Programs" node of the Ransom Center website.