About: Erin Branham

I'm the education specialist for family programs at the Getty Villa. In addition to the Villa Teen Apprentice program, I oversee tours, workshops, and drop-in programs designed for parents and children to enjoy together as they learn about art of the ancient world. I've been in museum education for over 20 years and hold a master's degree in art education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Posts by Erin

Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Voices

Mystery Cults and the Mother Goddess

Orphic Prayer Sheet / Greek
Orphic Prayer Sheet, Greek, 350-300 B.C. Gold, 1 7/16 x 7/8 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 75.AM.19. Gift of Lenore Barozzi

Only initiates could take part in the rites of the mystery cult, and they were forbidden to ever speak of what occurred. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Education, Getty Villa, Voices

Getty Voices: Digging the Sacred

Engraved Gem (Snake-legged Creature)
Engraved gem with snake-legged creature, Unknown, Roman, 200 - 400 A.D., The J. Paul Getty Museum.

“I can really appreciate the ancient system where borrowing, amalgamating, and generally mixing it up was perfectly acceptable.” More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Art, Education, Getty Villa

Percy Jackson, The Hunger Games, and Why Your Kids Need to Know Classical Culture

A family visiting the Getty Villa explores ancient art, history, and mythology through frescoes from the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum.
Mosaic with boxers: A scene from the Aenied in which two boxers fight to a bloody end for the watching crowd. (The J. Paul Getty Museum, 71.AH.106)

The adventure and derring-do of ancient myth is an easy sell to kids, and parents too for that matter. But I believe your kids need to know more. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Behind the Scenes, Education

The Scent of Love: Ancient Perfumes

Frankincense tears, myrrh, stick cinnamon, and rose petals
Frankincense tears, myrrh, stick cinnamon, and rose petals

Make your own sexy scents inspired by the recipes of the ancients. More»

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Posted in Antiquities, Behind the Scenes, Education, Getty Villa, J. Paul Getty Museum

Imagine a Teenager’s Museum

Teenage apprentices discuss the Roman marble of Leda and the Swan in the Temple of Herakles at the Getty Villa

I have the pleasure of running the Getty Villa Teen Apprentice Program (ViTA). Each year our goal is to open the museum from top to bottom to young people interested in the arts and introduce them to the variety of… More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Education, Getty Villa, J. Paul Getty Museum

Meet the Villa Teen Apprentices

The 2010 Villa Teen Apprentices. From left to right, back row: Nick Rawitch, Rebecca Friedman, Jackie Hernandez, Maggie Farrell, Avantika Kumar, Alex Davies. Front row: Emily Sulzer, Ari Cohen, Jesenya Maldonado, Nikita Salehi. Not pictured: Jeremy Cohen, Olivia Gautier, Zanny Jacobsen

I would like to introduce to the world the Villa Teen Apprentices. This group of talented young adults is the second batch to work with us at the Villa on creating an innovative new program for the Getty designed specifically… More»

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      All Hail Tiberius, Least Media-Savvy of the Roman Emperors

      Tiberius was proclaimed Roman emperor on September 17 in AD 14, exactly 2,000 years ago.

      He was also a bit wacko. “He was the least media-savvy emperor you could imagine,” says curator David Saunders, who has been in charge of this bronze portrait of Tiberius which leaves us on September 22. He point to this description found in the writings of Cassius Dio:

      Tiberius was a patrician of good education, but he had a most peculiar nature. He never let what he desired appear in his conversation, and what he said he wanted he usually did not desire at all. On the contrary, his words indicated the exact opposite of his real purpose; he denied all interest in what he longed for, and urged the claims of what he hated. He would exhibit anger over matters that were far from arousing his wrath, and make a show of affability where he was most vexed…In short, he thought it bad policy for the sovereign to reveal his thoughts; this was often the cause, he said, of great failures, whereas by the opposite course, far more and greater successes were attained.

      Moreover, David tells us, “Tiberius’s accession itself was a farrago: Tiberius sort-of feigning reluctance, the Senate bullying him, he being all, ‘Well, if-I-have-to,’ and in the end—according to Suetonius—saying he’ll do it as long as he can retire.”

      Suetonius is full of great, albeit spurious, anecdotes about poor old Tiberius, David reports. “When someone addressed him as ‘My Lord,’ it is said, Tiberius gave warning that no such insult should ever again be thrown at him.”

      Happy accession, My Lord!

      Portrait Head of Tiberius (“The Lansdowne Tiberius”), early 1st century A.D., Roman. The J. Paul Getty Museum

      Statue of Tiberius (detail), Roman, A.D. 37, Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei – Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Laboratorio di Conservazione e Restauro. Currently on view at the Getty Villa following conservation and study.

      09/17/14

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