Reading the Canvas


Ever stood in front of an artwork with no idea of what you are looking at? Try treating it like book! Reading the Canvas, in partnership with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, takes learners on a secret mission of how to “read” modern and contemporary art to uncover hidden symbols, clues, and messages. Learners will be led on a wild goose chase through the Hirshhorn’s galleries, library, and conservation lab as they take on their mission. To prove themselves worthy of joining a secret art society, their analytical, critical, and intuitive thinking skills will be strengthened and tested. Made for middle school learners, participants will walk away with excellent research skills, an understanding of art, what it looks like to work in a museum, and increased curiosity. With code-cracking, close-looking, and help from all departments of the Hirshhorn, are your learners up for the task?!

Grades: 8-12
Cost: Free

How to Request Guide: how_to_request_a_traveling_trunk_8.5_x_11_in.pdf

Note: This trunk relies on users being able to scan QR codes and watch videos. We recommend your group has at least 4 wifi or cellular enabled smart devices to engage in this program. 

Get to know a few of the artists featured in this trunk!

Click on their names to get more info about each artist, courtesy of the

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Mark Bradford Aliza Nisenbaum
     Robert Rauschenberg Guerilla Girls

                   For continued resources from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden,
check out more kid-friendly artist bios!

howtorequestatravelingtrunk85x11in.pdf945.61 KB