rachel s ropeik


An online hub for some of my on and offline projects

} museum education      } cultural experiments

     } digital technology          } adventures in the art world

interpretation & engagement

Writings/creations/experiences to help people engage with art


Changeover's Dilemma (Guggenheim Museum)

GOAL: to explore how a museum might present the periods between shows when the "behind the scenes" work of deinstallation/installation is happening in public

} collaboration with Pratt Institute's Avant-Garde Museum Education students

} students created prototypes of an evergreen card and in-gallery experiences to make the Guggenheim's "Changeover" period between shows (when the famous ramps are not always accessible) a unique visit focus, rather than a point of frustration

One visitor's map of the experiences throughout our Changeover-focused tour of the museum, using lines, sketching, and words to convey the art, movement, and sensory impressions of the building.

this was probably one of the most valuable learning experiences I had during my studies at Pratt.
— Pratt Institute grad student
We thought of... Changeover as a valuable and exciting opportunity to teach visitors about museum practices, rather than a hindrance to viewing the art- and this is how it was narrated by Rachel in her GLEx [Gallery Learning Experience] as well!
— Pratt Institute grad student

"Take a Closer Look" Wall Labels (Brooklyn Museum)

GOAL: to encourage visitor response, observation, and dialogue

} additions to exhibition wall text for Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic

} intended for an "arts newcomer" audience

MuseumEd Mashup (Ogden Museum of Southern Art)

GOAL: to encourage museum educators toward a spirit of experimentation, spontaneity, and play in museum galleries

} for educators attending the National Art Education Association national convention

} "experimenters" were assigned to small groups focused on individual artworks, then tasked with creating a 5-minute experience to engage an audience with that artwork, which they proceeded to facilitate

Choose Your Own (Art) Adventure (Brooklyn Museum)

GOAL: to prompt close looking, reflection, curiosity, excitement, conversation in an unexpected, fun way

} for educators attending a free open-house event

} participants reported their mood to "the oracle" staff member (shout out to collaborator Sam Serrano) and received a color-coded set of artwork cards around one of these themes:

  • Participatory
  • Immersive
  • Talkative
  • Nostalgic
  • Intricate
  • Custom (compiled on the spot)

"Analogue Instagram" In-Gallery Activity for Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe (Brooklyn Museum)

GOAL: to explore perceptions and emotions surrounding high heels

} created by an interdepartmental team (Education, Exhibitions, Design, Technology, Curatorial)

} two-part activity:

  1. have your killer heels photographed at select events and tag them with 1 word
  2. use post-its and pencil to tag photos of other people's shoes

} reflections on this activity and the 17,500 Post-Its it went through are here, courtesy of Sara Devine

Gallery Teaching Marathon (Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego)

GOAL: to encourage museum pros to shake up their practice and reflect on a variety of ways to engage people with art

} a day-long program of gallery teaching from museum professionals from around the country

} my session was collaborative poetry, meet interpretive dance: a creative exploration of Richard Serra

Gallery Bingo (Brooklyn Museum)

GOALto encourage open-hearted, playful exploration of special exhibitions

} for educators attending a free open-house event

Sensory Tour (Brooklyn Museum)

GOAL: to explore one or two artworks through conversation, verbal description, and creative use of all five senses

} for members of the general public, including those with low or no vision

Museum Teaching Throw Down (various museums)

GOAL: to push museum education practice and share ideas and excitement

Round 1

} a competition of museum educators bringing their best experimental teaching techniques to engage 60+ museum professionals with the American Folk Art Museum's exhibition Folk Couture

my winning contribution: a "found fashion" catwalk show

Round 2

} continued the tradition with new educators and new teaching techniques in a new museum

} hosted by round 1 competitors to foster the continuation of throw downs that push the field forward

"Looking Closer" Wall Labels (Brooklyn Museum)

GOAL: to encourage visitor response, observation, and dialogue

} additions to exhibition wall text for Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties

} intended for an "arts newcomer" audience


Eye Spy Family Guide (Brooklyn Museum)

GOAL: to engage families with an exhibition in an interactive way

} a tactile guide to the themes of the exhibition Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties

} each card was printed with an image detail to hunt for on one side and some information and questions on the back

} intended for families with young children

Teaching Resources (Brooklyn Museum)

GOAL: to help K-12 teachers create inquiry-driven learning experiences with their students

Teaching Resources from the Courtauld Gallery

GOAL: to provide in-depth, supplementary background information for teachers of particular subjects