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Portuguese trading animals in Japan; detail of Nanban panel (1570–1616)
Portuguese trading animals in Japan; detail of Nanban panel (1570–1616)

Congratulations! You have recently been promoted to the role of Superior Art Historian by your employers at the Museum.

With your promotion comes added responsibility. You must team up with fellow teachers and begin preparing a presentation to be heard by the board. The Museum's Board of Trustees (or board of really rich, important people) is considering cutting funding to its education department. You and your colleagues must defend the education department and demonstrate to the board the value in studying the artwork of ancient civilizations. Help them see how beautiful the artwork of the past is and how important that it is for it to be studied by current generations!

The art of the ancient world depends on you!


Task Image
Task Image

You and your colleagues at the museum must pair up and present to the Board of Trustees information about a particular period in art history. Your job as Superior Art Historians is to present to the board a PowerPoint of research on your assigned time period. Your PowerPoint should be designed in such a way that the Board recognizes the importance of keeping ancient cultures alive and realizes the artistic contributions these ancient cultures have made to our modern era.

In your presentation to the board you must also present artefacts of your assigned time period to the trustees and you will present how you hope to teach about these artefacts to several different age groups. Hopefully by viewing your artefacts and lesson plans, the board will realize the beauty that exists within the artwork of these ancient cultures and the importance on introducing young people to them. Good luck, the fate of the education department at the Museum rests in your hands.


Step 1: You will be assigned into Superior Art Historian Teams and teacher of two or three.

Step 2: The museum curator (course leader) will pass around a bag. A member of your team will randomly choose from the bag a piece of paper that will reveal the theme and gallery you will be asked to research. The themes are Ceramics, Furniture, Textiles, Gold and Silverware, Art from the Portuguese discoveries, and Sculptures .

Step 3: Using the Internet resources listed below, and others you find, research as much as possible about your assigned time period. Assume, the board knows nothing about art history and would like to be enlightened before they make their decision about cutting funding.

Step 4: Once your research is finished plan out your PowerPoint presentation. Remember, the goal of your PowerPoint is to convince the board of the necessity to present art history to young people. Through your presentation, you must convince the board that studying art history is a worthwhile experience. Try to overwhelm them with your knowledge of history, the beauty of ancient art, but most importantly show how you will attract young people to the museum and interest them in the displays and artefacts.

Step 5: Once you have successfully organized your presentation, begin to create your PowerPoint to share with the board. Make sure that it is a detailed presentation of your findings and that it is visually appealing and free of grammatical errors. In your presentation, at least one slide must be dedicated to the answer of the following question, Why is it important to study art from ancient civilizations, specifically the art of your assigned theme for young people?

Step 6: After your PowerPoint is constructed, spend time creating an artefact to share with the board. All members of the team must construct their own, individual artefacts. Examine paintings created by the people of your assigned time period and create a painting that looks as if it could have come from that period. This painting will serve as the artefact to be presented to the board. Try to copy the style and subject matter of the artists of your assigned time period. In order to make their artefacts, you will have access to paper, pencils, erasers, scissors, glue, acrylic paint, coloured pencils, markers, and crayons. This activity should take no longer than two class periods.

Step 7: Once everyone on your team has finished their artefacts, present your PowerPoint and artefacts to the Board so they can make their decision about cutting funding to the art department.

You can download the Evaluation Rubric from the Documents section of Resources

Learning Objectives

Learning outcomes

Knowledge acquired

Skills acquired

Competences acquired



Congratulations! The board has decided not to cut funding in the education department at the Museum. Young people the Future museum goers have you to thank! You truly are a Superior Art Historian. Be sure to congratulate your teacher colleague as well.

Through your participation in the presentation to the board you have become much more familiar with the artwork of ancient civilizations. You now are able to identify characteristics of different ancient cultures. You have also honed your research skills as you searched for information about these ancient cultures. Lastly, you have learned valuable lessons in teamwork and partnership as you worked co-operatively with your colleague. I expect another promotion will be in the works soon!

Based on a Zunal Webquest by Kristin Ritter