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(If you’re still at a loss, at least mark “modesty” as one of your chief virtues.) Just don’t get carried away.

Why are art museums intimidating

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The Maya were prolific makers of carved stone-slab monuments, or stelae, which were normally set up within architectural complexes and most often portray specific, named individuals who were members of the hereditary dynasties that ruled Maya city-states.

This imposing figure is identified by the accompanying inscriptions as K’inich B’alam (Sun-Faced Jaguar), ruler of El Perú.

By Heidi Moore | Museums can be intimidating places, especially for young people who lack familiarity with art history and its insider language.

It depends on the courage of a few teachers and principals to make it part of a curriculum.

The primary elements of K’inich B’alam’s costume were intended to situate the Maya ruler not just locally and in his historic role but, more importantly, in his relation to the gods and the cosmos.

The main headdress element, repeated in the ruler’s anklets, is the head of the Water-lily Snake, a deity symbolizing standing bodies of water and the earth’s abundance, and patron god of the number thirteen.

Though hidden, these elements affect participants in a place or an experience. “What is the meaning of closing a door in the classroom? Is the museum hierarchical and didactic, or does it invite guest participation?

Invisible Pedagogies seeks to disrupt what it calls the “power-knowledge barrier” between educators (the voice of the institution) and participants, who “in most cases feel they don’t have anything to say about contemporary art.” Decentralizing learning in a museum eliminates hierarchy and lends validity to multiple voices and viewpoints.