McClung Museum Expands Outreach with New Academic Programs Department

The McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture recently launched a new academic programs department to better integrate the museum into the intellectual life of the university, increase outreach to professors, and expand experiential learning opportunities for students.

At the helm of this initiative is Lindsey Waugh, who joins the McClung Museum as coordinator of academic programs after working in a similar position at the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas. A graduate assistant from the history department and an undergraduate intern will join the department this fall.

Using the museum’s approximately 26,000 objects and millions of archaeology and natural history specimens, Waugh helps provide engaging opportunities for research and object-based teaching that enrich the learning environment at UT.

“The University of Tennessee is very fortunate to have the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture on its campus,” said Susan D. Martin, provost and senior vice chancellor. “We want to ensure that current and future members of our faculty and student body, as well as those in the local community, have access to our remarkable collections. The museum’s increased emphasis on academic programming will maximize these valuable opportunities.”

Recent collaborations with UT professors have included the creation of mock mobile apps for the museum’s galleries by Professor Sarah Lowe’s graphic design students, one of which recently won an honorable mention at the 2015 national conference of the American Alliance of Museums. Others include collaborations between College of Law Dean Doug Blaze, museum staff and six third-year law students who are working in the museum on issues pertaining to the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

“Teaching in the museum enriches learning not just in the arts and humanities, but also in the sciences as well,” Waugh said. “Objects invite reflection and reconsideration of both the content of courses and the frameworks of disciplines. They inspire critical thinking and cultural awareness.”

The museum has established a new object study room, which provides access to objects from the museum’s extensive collections for study by faculty and students. As the museum’s galleries only can accommodate a small percentage of the museum’s collections for display, the study room provides a unique opportunity for hands-on interaction with objects that students and faculty might not otherwise see.

By placing an emphasis on academic programming, the McClung Museum hopes to enhance multidisciplinary explorations by faculty and students and to contribute directly to the university’s mission to increase experiential learning opportunities for students on campus.

Many academic museums moving toward this model have begun to focus on academic programming, but the McClung Museum is one of the only academic museums in the region with a dedicated staff member in this position.

The McClung Museum is located at 1327 Circle Park Drive. Museum admission is free, and the museum’s hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. Free two-hour museum parking passes are available from the parking information building at the entrance to Circle Park Drive on the weekdays. Free public transportation to the museum is also available via the Knoxville Trolley Vol Line.

Additional parking information is available online.

 

CONTACT:

Lindsey Waugh (865-974-2416, ljwaugh@utk.edu)

Catherine Shteynberg (865-974-6921, cshteynb@utk.edu)