Innovative Museum Studies - Mid-Pacific Institute

Academics News

Innovative Museum Studies

Honolulu Museum of Art partnership

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Scot Allen

Click here to read all about the project on the Honolulu Museum of Art blog.

Photos courtesy of Nicholas Perih and the Honolulu Museum of Art

When you were a kid, did you ever take a class called Museum Studies? Chances are, you probably didn't. Back then, Museum Studies wasn't offered to most high school students, but now it is offered at Mid-Pacific in an innovative new way - a way that enhances our project-based learning and showcases our latest technologies.

Built upon a previous course, Preserving our Heritage through Technology, students are now able to capture and preserve artifacts by implementing new technologies. The students are using the new Artec-Spider 3-D scanner, a small handheld scanner that allows them the ability to scan artifacts quickly and efficiently

Nicholas Perih, who teaches the new course, believes in the importance of preserving our history through technology. He explains, "With environmental concerns and extremist groups (who destroy cultural heritage sites at an alarming rate) there is a tremendous need to preserve whatever we can. Technology allows us to do that quickly and efficiently."

"This school has changed my whole philosophy on teaching because of the technology," shares Mr. Perih. "I was raised as a tech guy, but how we are using it here is way more meaningful. We are using it to solve problems, and to generate relevance and authenticity in our classrooms."

Through a wonderful partnership with the East-West Center, his students are able to walk to the University of Hawaii at Manoa and use their gallery as a platform for learning. (Interestingly enough, the curator at EWC was so impressed by the class, he asked for class assistance in archiving the artifacts.) The school has also secured a similar partnership with the Honolulu Museum of Art.

Modeled after the CyArk partnership, Mr. Perih has formed the Museum Studies curriculum around the concept of Identity. Students will reflect on the whole museum concept, including the study of the exhibits themselves, as well as who is showing these exhibits and why they are displaying them in such a way.

Mr. Perih also teaches World Civilization and Global issues, courses that help pique the interest in other countries. He adds, "My goal is to help my students develop empathy by providing a transformative learning experience... almost like traveling to another country. If I can change the lens that they see out of, offering them a global perspective, then I know I've made a difference."