The IU Art Museum boasts a collection that includes works of art ranging from Monet to 13th-century B.C. bronze statues.
Though the museum is free and open to the public, weekend tours offer an informed way of seeing the collection. Ed Maxedon is the curator of education at the museum and trains the docents who lead the tours.
“We have public tours every Saturday at 2 p.m., and on the first Saturday of every month we have thematic tours,” Maxedon said.
Maxedon explained that the docent will have a prepared “highlight tour,” but if visitors have a specific agenda, such as African art or Chinese art, the tour can be specified to their interests.
“It is the only time there is someone here to give a tour that is on staff and in the building,” Maxedon said.
The thematic tours are usually designed around each docent’s interests.
This month’s tour was titled “Mythical, Mystical, Material Adornment.” Upcoming thematic tours include “Silk Road: Trails in Textiles” and “Must Art be Beautiful?”
Kim Lance, a senior who recently stopped at the museum’s Angles Cafe for an iced coffee, said she has gone on two tours of the art museum in her time as a student.
“Freshman year I came to one, and then last year for a class,” Lance said.
The course, about complimentary and alternative medicine encouraged the students to connect with a piece of artwork in the museum, Lance said.
“We went into the exhibit and found a painting that we were drawn to and meditated on it,” she said.
Lance said she appreciated the opportunity to look at the museum’s work with the specific agenda that comes with a themed tour.
Docent Margarete Handy, who designed this month’s tour, said the IU Art Museum is quite a treasure even though its curators and administrators are humble regarding the collection.
“They don’t brag a lot, but they have one of the largest pre-Renaissance collections in the country,” she said.
Handy noted that she benefits as a docent as much as the visitors.
“The purpose is to educate both the person giving the talk and the public,” Handy said.
Lance agreed that the museum has much to offer students and visitors.
“I like it,” she said of the museum. “A lot of students can come here and utilize it. It’s kind of like getting away from campus, plus it’s educational.”