Curriculum Resource Units are offered for many of the Museum's major exhibitions and are intended to broaden and deepen teachers' and students' engagement with the arts, through the lens of the Fowler's diverse collections. Intended for use by K-12 teachers, these units stress students' active exploration of selected cultures and encourage ongoing dialogues about the meanings of the arts in our lives.
Curriculum Resource Units are in-depth courses of study that feature interdisciplinary lessons, learning objectives, and background information. Many units come with slides and other supplementary materials. Lessons closely correlate with the National Standards for History and with the California State Frameworks for History and Social Sciences, Visual and Performing Arts, and Language Arts.
The Curriculum Resource Units can be used both as preparation for a class visit to the Museum and as sustained resources for teachers in ongoing curricular planning. A list of available Curriculum Resource Units can be found below.
Online Curriculum Resources - Current Exhibitions
Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives.
This curriculum resource unit is conceived as a paradigm for approaching world arts and cultures in K-12 classrooms. In keeping with the conceptual framework of Intersections, this study presents a curricular approach based on how art works for individuals rather than one based on geography or historical chronology.
Thematic units follow the interpretive framework of the exhibition, therefore, and are presented within the rubric of Art and Action, Art and Knowledge, Art and Power, and Art and Transformation. Each unit begins with a Unit Overview and teachers are advised to begin their respective unit or lesson with this more general introduction.
Online Curriculum Resources - Past Exhibitions
Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews examines one of the world’s oldest Jewish communities with some members entering Iran nearly 3,000 years ago. As Iran’s oldest religious minority, the Jewish community has
confronted numerous challenges, and these have affected the overall character of Jewish life in the country. The succession of dynasties and peoples who conquered Iran impacted and enriched Persian Jewish culture in a variety of ways—as has the fact that this community has now lived under Muslim rule for nearly 1,400 years. ...
The curriculum resource unit for the exhibition In Extremis: Death and Life in 21st-Century Haitian Art consists of four lessons with extensive background information and suggested classroom activities. They explore the history of Haiti and the role that its national religion of Vodou has played over time; examine the pantheon of Vodou spirits, with special attention to the Gede family of spirits; consider individual and community responses to crises; and introduce the work of the contemporary Haitian art collective, Atis Rezistans. The lessons and a Powerpoint presentation may be downloaded for free.
Transcultural Pilgrim: Three Decades of Work by José Bedia
Background information and notes for the teacher accompany ten selected works on view in Transcultural Pilgrim: Three Decades of Work by José Bedia. The notes and a Powerpoint presentation may be downloaded for free.
Download the Education Guide (PDF, 750 KB)
Central Nigeria Unmasked: Arts of the Benue River Valley
This curriculum resource unit is designed to accompany the exhibition Central Nigeria Unmasked. The units are designed around the themes of the exhibition and include topics from The Lower Benue: Fluid Artistic Identities; The Middle Benue: Visual Resemblances, Connected Histories; and The Middle Benue: Expressive and Ritual Capacities of Clay.
Steeped in History: The Art of Tea
This curriculum resource unit accompanied the exhibition Steeped in History: The Art of Tea and consists of five lessons: China, Cradle of Tea Culture; The Way of Tea in Japan; Tea Craze in the West; Tea and Empire; Tea – Parties and Poetry.
Printed Curriculum Resources to Order
Rice is a staple food for more than three billion people, mostly in Asia, but this staggering statistic only hints at the cultural significance this grain has for the diverse peoples of South, Southeast, and East Asia. This curriculum investigates the complex ways rice culture informs the expressive arts bridging sacred, secular, agricultural, political and economic domains.
Themes include: The Sacred Grain; Celebrating Rice, Celebrating Life; Rice Agriculture – Cycle and Spread; and Rice, Self, State and What's Ahead.
8.5'' x 11''. 39 pages, illustrations, 20 slides, bibliography. 2004. Spiral bound.
The Art of the Lega unit investigates the culture and the arts of the Lega peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Among the Lega, art is created for and used by the Bwami Society, a complex organization essential to political, social, and religious life.
Lessons focus on Art as a Mirror of the Environment ; Art as a Link to the Past; Art as an Expression of Beauty-and-Goodness; Art as a Code of Ethics; Art as a Badge of Leadership; and Art as a Metaphor for Knowledge and Wisdom.
8.5” x 11”, 110 pages, 96 illustrations, 20 slides, poster, bibliography. 1999. Spiral-bound.
Cost: $30. 00
The brilliant beaded traditions of the Yoruba peoples of Nigeria and their descendants in the Americas are the focus of this unit of study, developed in conjunction with the Museum's major exhibition on Yoruba beadwork.
Teachers may explore a broad study of the Yoruba culture through lessons titled The Beaded Universe of the Yoruba Peoples; Points of Brightness, Signs of Power— Beads for the Gods; Diviner's Regalia—Beads and Ancient Wisdom; Marks of Authority: Beads for Royalty; Egungun —Honoring Ancestors; and Beads: History and Activities.
8.5" x 11", 98 pages, 66 illustrations, 20 slides, bibliography. 1998. Spiral-bound.
This unit investigates the Fowler's collection of Trees of Life, ceramic candelabra-like constructions whose elaborate decoration and structure often appear to defy gravity and the pottery medium itself. The trees embody aspects of ancient and indigenous traditions like those of the Maya, Aztec, and Mixtec. This unit explores the historic roots and narrative elements of this vibrant art form in addition to providing cross-disciplinary lessons, including Hanging on the Branch of History; In the Shade of the Science Branches; Beneath the Math Bough; On the Language Arts Limb; and Art and Arboles.
8.5" x 11", 22 pages, bibliography. 2003.
This Curriculum Resource Unit was developed in conjunction with the Fowler exhibition Isn't S/He a Doll? Play and Ritual in African Sculpture and examines the rich variety of forms and functions that characterize African conceptions of dolls.
The unit contains four comprehensive lessons titled What is a Doll?; Dolls in Play; Dolls in Ritual; and Dolls in Collections.
8.5" x 11", 74 pages, 20 illustrations, 20 slides, bibliography. 1997. Spiral-bound.
This curriculum resource unit presents a study of the Amish community and uses the construction and art of the pieced quilt as a metaphor for understanding Amish society.
Sacred Patches; Growing up Amish; A Sense of Community; and The Amish Quilt provide a framework around which teachers may design their studies of the Amish. Developed in conjunction with the exhibition, A Quiet Spirit: Amish Quilts from the Collection of Cindy Tietze and Stuart Hodosh, lessons are particularly well suited to larger discussions of American social and religious history.
8.5" x 11'', 70 pages, 34 illustrations, 20 slides, bibliography. 1996. Spiral-bound.
This unit provides background information about Islam, the dynamic work ethic and inspirational devotion of Mourides, and the central place of the arts within daily life in Senegal. The goal of this unit is to familiarize teachers and students to the many faces of Islam and its positive and peaceful place in Senegalese society, and to promote greater religious tolerance and respect for cultural diversity.
Seven sections focus on The City and the Saint; The Heritage of Islam; The Lives of a Saint; Work as Prayer; Healing Words; The Dress of Devotion; and Global Networks.
8.5" x 11", 66 pages, 30 illustrations, 8 slides, bibliography. 2003. Spiral-bound.
This unit explores the arts and cultures of the Niger Delta. Emphasizing the importance of water and environment in daily and spiritual life, this major exhibition and curriculum resource unit focus on a multicultural assemblage of large-scale masks, water spirit headdresses, warrior figures, puppets, and ritual dress.
Themes include Streams and Spirits: Ways of the Niger Delta; Palm Oil, Petroleum and Pirates; Ivri and Identity: Individuality in Niger Delta Art; Life on the Delta; Crosscurrents: Shared Traditions in the Niger Delta; and Celebrating a Watery World.
8.5" x 11", 85 pages, set of 12 slides, bibliography. 2002. Spiral-bound.