Engaging Community Through Creativity

Joseph Education Center

Joseph Education Center

Baltimore Museum of Art
Baltimore, Maryland

The Baltimore Museum of Art’s 6,800-sf Joseph Education Center provides immersive learning experiences that connect visitors -  especially students - with art, creativity, and community.

Housed within the museum’s original John Russell Pope building, the Center is the main access point for school groups. The renovation aims to introduce more dynamic, hands-on engagement opportunities, including an expanded interactive gallery design featuring original site-specific installations by internationally acclaimed artists Derrick Adams, Mary Flanagan, and Pablo Helguera.

Other elements of the renovation include the development and refurbishment of classrooms to expand available space for making art and the reimagining of the school tour entrance with an interactive Wall of Wonder.

As we plan each touchpoint, we are considering what approaches might spark critical inquiry and promote imaginative thinking.

The Wall of Wonder

We designed a millwork wall to connect the disparate spaces in the Center. This Wall of Wonder includes exhibition components like discovery drawers curated by artists, interactive artworks, and digital displays, along with storage for coats and backpacks. The upper register features changeable displays.

Encouraging Interaction

A major project goal was to create a lively space where students and other visitors are encouraged to interact with artwork. That meant clearly delineating areas where interactivity is encouraged while protecting non-interactive art pieces. We incorporated different materiality and color coding to guide visitors.

Space Constraints as Opportunities

Rather than removing walls to open up space, we used mirrors and other design elements that give the impression of solid walls disappearing. The exhibition designer created graphics and art pieces that interact with the mirrors to spark new perspectives and encourage visitors to consider how we engage with art.

Making Space for Art-making

As part of the renovation, we redesigned the Center’s classrooms. The larger classrooms and new gallery design allow for the creation of more types of art and expanded educational programming.

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