Getty educators discuss objects in a Getty Villa display case

“Today’s goal is to play—and if you fail, remember to fail gloriously!”

This was the challenge for the recent #MuseumMashup at the Getty Villa, a brainstorm for museum educators to create new ways of interacting with art. When you get a group of passionate arts educators together and ask them to experiment in their teaching techniques, prepare for a grab bag of awesomeness!

I was invited to join the fun and snap photos of the event (thanks, educators!). Here are my top seven favorite, educator-approved #MuseumMashup concepts—use them to energize your next museum visit with friends, family, and willing strangers.

1. Act It Out

Artworks are a moment frozen in time. In a world where there are three Night at the Museum movies, feel confident that you, too, can bring an artwork to life through your own movements. Some suggested questions to get you started:

  • What are people doing in this artwork?
  • What actions aren’t shown in the artwork, and why might that be?
  • How does it feel to perform the action shown here? Am I sweaty? Sore? Graceful?

Getty Villa docents reenacting a mosaic with a boxing scene

2. Play Interior Designer

Many objects in the collection were once used by very real people. You can find teacups, clothing, decorations, and even furniture in many collections. Ask yourself:

  • Where would I put this in my home?”
  • Would I want to own this? Why or why not?
  • How would it feel to sit or sleep on this?

Bonus: Find the object you’d give to your worst enemy and pick the one you’d gift to your best friend.

3. Activate the Head

The bodies of some sculptures are lost to time, but what might the poses of these figures have once looked like? Pick a face and strike a pose.

Bonus: Line up your family members and mold them into sculptures yourself.

A Getty Villa educator mimics a Roman portrait head

4. Design Your Own Art

Design your own art! If you were able to choose the design of an object showcasing the city you live in, what kinds of things would you include? Why?

Bonus: Draw your version! (This is a good activity for after or before an art museum visit, or to try over lunch.)

5. Play Poetry and Charades

Ask everyone in your group to think of a single word that an artwork brings to mind. Take turns sharing words, and write them down. Using these words, try to arrange a poem or sentence, or — bonus — play charades and see if your silent acting skills are up to snuff.

6. Choreograph a Dance

What feeling does an artwork give you? Channel that feeling into a simple dance move.

Bonus: Start a little flash mob on the museum plaza with your new choreo.

Five Getty Villa docents become an ancient Greek throne

7. Become the Object

If five educators can become an ancient marble throne (see pic for proof), you can become anything you want. Pretend to be on a dating show; speak from the POV of the artwork and describe the top three reasons you are awesome. Bonus points if you enlist more than three people to embody the artwork.

To see the other museum educators’ experiments with quick, fun, and interactive lessons, check out more Museum Mashup on Twitter.

PS: If you try any of these gallery experiments, share them with us using the hashtag #GettyInspired!