Detroit Institute of Arts Virtual Field Trip

Detroit Institute of Arts Virtual Field Trip


What lies behind the surface of a 400-year-old sculpture? Is what you see on a painting real, or did the artist mean to draw something totally different? And, what about Infrared Reflectography—what does that exactly do?

Detroit Public Television teamed up with the Detroit Institute of Arts for a Virtual Field Trip to take students and teachers behind the scenes into the restricted area at the DIA to help them explore new ideas and dig deep under the surface of art and science.

It's chemistry, physics, biology, and geology sprinkled with "Ferocious curiosity."

  • What is Infrared Reflectography?

    We meet Aaron, an imaging specialist in the DIA's conservation department, who explains Infrared Reflectography and demonstrates how the technique can help us see the "underdrawings" of an artist's artwork.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Using "The Last Judgment" to Explore Research Tools

    Kathy, a research scientist at the Detroit Institute of Arts, explains how scientists use special equipment to learn more about the elements and minerals used to create paintings from hundreds of years ago. 

    Grades: 6-12
  • How Do Museums Study Art?

    Museums don't just display off art—they also study art. Aaron, Image Specialist for the Detroit Institute of Arts, takes us behind the scenes to show how experts study and research the collections that we see on exhibit at the DIA.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Learning from a Sculpture of St. Francis

    Behind the scenes at the DIA: What is an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer and how do scientists at the Detroit Institute of Arts use it to learn about art from the past? We meet with Cathy, a research scientist at the DIA, to study a sculpture of St. Francis that's over 400 years old.  Plus, what does it take to become a part of the DIA's research team?

    Grades: 8-12
  • Exploring Pigments in Flowers: Lesson Plan

    Are all red flowers the same? Students will investigate if the pigments from one red flower are the same as another red flower. How can a flower’s pigments help attract pollinators such as honeybees, butterflies or hummingbirds?

    Grades: 2-13+
  • Black Ink Chromatography: Lesson Plan

    Is all black ink the same? Black ink may actually be made of a combination of many different dyes.

    Grades: 2-13+
  • Candy Chromatography: Lesson Plan

    How are the color pigments in Skittles and M&Ms different?

    Grades: 2-13+
  • DIA Virtual Field Trip - Science at the Museum STEAM Unit: Lesson Plan

    Students are going on a field trip and will be asked to get themselves prepared to get the most from this experience. This is a field trip they will do in the comfort of their own school/home—a virtual field trip. It is an extraordinary trip because they are going where few have gone before—behind the scenes at the Detroit Institute of Art. Hosted by Detroit Public Television, the students will witness how the DIA validates as well as prepares to exhibit its collection of art. During this field trip we are going to expose the ‘sure’ and ‘not so sure’ ways that four of the disciplines identified by STEAM, Science, Technology, Engineering, & Art fit in the procurement, authentication, and exhibition of its collection "Where Do I Fit?"

    Grades: 9-13+

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