Teaching With Art at Northwestern: Block Museum - Northwestern University
Skip to main content

Teaching With Art at Northwestern

The Block Museum of Art is an essential campus resource for teaching and learning with art online, in the gallery and in the classroom. The Block’s education and curatorial staff is available to help develop plans for classroom experiences for faculty.

Artwork Selection

A member of our staff can help you select artwork from our collection, or others worldwide, based on your research interests and curricular goals. We can assist you with a plan to help integrate art into assignments and online teaching, including the creation of custom virtual object portfolios for your class.


Object-based Discussion

Art is a starting point for understanding our world, offering a lens to develop observational and analysis skills connected to curriculum. Our engagement or curatorial staff can lead virtual object-based discussions, sharing artwork as a discussion prompt or providing context on past projects and exhibitions.


Professional Practices

As an AAM accredited museum, The Block upholds field-wide best practices. We can talk to your students about our professional work from multiple perspectives, including curatorial, exhibition design, registration, and administrative leadership.


Digital Archive

Invite students to jump into the rich museum archive of past lectures, performances, panels, and podcasts.  Our Museum from Home Portal offers a point-of-entry into a decade of engagement.


On-Site Research Visits

We can accommodate a limited amount of in-person research visits to access works from the collection.  We are prepared to host individual researchers from the Northwestern community, requesting viewings by appointment.


Block Collection Database

Recognizing the importance of online research to students and faculty, The Block has completed a major digitization process to document all artworks in its collection with hi-res digital photography.  Our new online collection database makes over 7000 works in the collection available to all from anywhere at any time.


“Collaboration with The Block enabled me to draw on the collection, as well as the expertise of staff, to expand the scope of my classes in ways that will leave a lasting impact both on the students' experience with the material we studied and also on my own pedagogy." 

- Topher Davis, Assistant Professor of French

We only meet once a week online and this doesn't give us much time for the students to practice... I am having them look at The Block's archive and record a spoken response to what they see and read there. It looks like they will get good opportunities to think about the role of artwork in their lives and start to use their analytical skills to express their thoughts in English.

 - Ken Konopka, English Language Programs Instructor

“At the Center for Leadership, we often use images to help people explore and deepen what they know about leadership, teamwork and mentoring others.  People expect to see and talk about Abraham Lincoln.  But what about art that is co-created by an artist working through others? This can speak to the subtle nature of how leadership and followership is less of a position or title and more of shared action.  What about an image that upends who we think of as a leader or that sparks dialogue about a leader’s worst impulses?  These conversations are possible because of our relationship with The Block.  They brought art to our voice, selecting images and stories from their collection that speaks to these and so many other ideas.  It is a signature that makes our work more effective and certainly unique.”

– Adam Goodman, Director, Northwestern Center for Leadership

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for our fantastic virtual visit to the Block collections last week. I asked the students about it in class today and, like me, they absolutely loved it.., I wouldn’t have believed it beforehand, but this was just as great as coming to see you in person at the museum. Mille fois merci!

– Cynthia Nazarian, Associate Professor, Department of French and Italian