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BERST Curriculum Spotlight: Museum Rounds

How a trip to an art museum explored perception, communication, and bias.

  • Half-day BERST Teaching Academy session at the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts
  • Open to all, the 36 participants included physicians, nurses, pharmacists, midwives, spiritual services students, a health sciences librarian, non-clinical educators, and talent acquisition professionals

Learning Objectives

Participants learned how to identify and apply visual thinking strategies to:

  • Support their learning of problem-solving techniques
  • Enhance their ability to take in multiple perspectives, especially those of an inter-professional team


Activity 1: What Do You See? What Do You Wonder?

Participants took several minutes to look at a painting silently. The facilitator then asked their interpretation of what they saw (based on evidence) and what questions they had about what was happening.
Debrief: You can look but not see; wrestling with uncertainty; humility of asking what someone else sees

Activity 2: Love/Hate/Confusion

In a gallery with a large variety of artwork, participants were given 3 emojis (representing love, hate, confusion) to place near the artwork that evoked those reactions. The facilitator asked participants to describe why they made their choices and explored varied reactions to a single piece.
Debrief: Empathy, multiple perspectives; humility about not having understood something

Activity 3: Communication—Describing and Listening Skills

Participants partnered up. Partner 1 chose a painting, and positioned Partner 2 facing away from it. With a 3 minute time limit, Partner 1 described the painting while Partner 2 drew an image of what they heard. After a short debrief, they switched roles.
Debrief after the first round: What would have made this clearer?
Debrief after the second round: What did you change the second time? What was easy/hard? What did you decide to leave out? How is this relevant to work situations?

Planning Team

  • Angela Sweeney, BERST Curriculum design specialist
  • Arlene Kruzel, Nursing educator
  • Harry Hoar, Pediatric hospitalist
  • Kathy Kopcza, Program director, Pharmacy residency

Inspired by Museum Rounds

Katie Jobbins

Incorporated one of the museum activities into the Self-reflection Curriculum for Internal Medicine residents.

Kathy Kopcza and Jason Cross

Implemented the entire curriculum with their Pharmacy students at the museum, and recently included Pharmacy PGY1 residents

Arlene Kruzel, Angela Sweeney, Doug Salvador, Harry Hoar

Used elements of the curriculum for the Patient Experience Conference on October 30, 2019