Reaching Out to Schools, Teachers & Children
The Jandon Center engages faculty, students and community partners on social-change projects that tackle community-driven goals. Through experiential learning and scholarship, students build essential capacities in critical thinking while providing significant leadership on urgent, complex issues facing communities and society.
High School Student Coursework
In 2018–19, 137 area high school students took 159 Smith courses (valued at $1,046,460) at no cost to the students or their parents. Since 1995, 2,257 area high school students have taken 2,795 courses at the college.
Considered one of the foremost academic museums in the country, SCMA is known for its collection of more than 27,000 artworks ranging from ancient Greek vases to contemporary video art. In 1920, Smith appointed the first museum director to manage the college’s growing collection and shape it into an open and accessible institution that would serve the needs of the Smith campus as well as the broader community. In celebration of its centennial, SCMA will launch a new website and offer a yearlong series of special programs and exhibitions in 2020.
Second Fridays and Community Day
On the second Friday of each month—as part of the downtown Northampton Arts Night Out program—SCMA hosts Free Second Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. This free art experience for all ages attracts an average of 300+ visitors per program and features hands-on art-making projects as well as a brief informal gallery conversation focusing on the museum’s collection and special changing exhibitions. These “Open Eyes” discussions are led by museum education staff and based on the highly regarded approach to increasing visual literacy known as Visual Thinking Strategies.
In partnership with area schools and various Smith departments, SCMA also hosts an annual free Community Day each spring with art-making and learning experiences geared to all ages.
More than 5,000 elementary and secondary school students visited the museum in 2018–19, including hundreds from the Northampton public schools. SCMA offers free admission to all school groups and bus subsidies to defray school transportation costs. Teachers who reserve a tour receive a free admission pass to plan their visit in advance. Lesson plan ideas are also available on the website.
Open year-round, six days a week (Tuesday–Sunday) and closed only on Mondays and major holidays, the museum is committed to providing broad access to its collections, exhibitions and programs. The museum offers extended hours on Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Museum admission is fully waived for museum members, college students with IDs, Five College employees and families, and youth ages 18 and under. Admission is also free on more than 20 days each year, including Free Second Fridays, Smith Family Weekend, Smith Commencement/Reunion Weekends, National Art Museum Day and Free Community Day. As part of the Blue Star Museums program, the museum offers free admission to active-duty service personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day. SCMA is pleased to offer free admission for individuals or families carrying an EBT card.
Free admission passes to SCMA are also available to public library cardholders at many local and regional libraries via the SCMA Library Pass Partners Program. Some 30-plus libraries participate in this program each year, providing essential support for the museum’s exhibitions and public programs. Libraries may purchase passes through the museum’s Membership Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-585-2777. For a list of participating libraries and information about how to become a Library Pass Partner, visit scma.smith.edu/artmuseum/Visit/Planning-a-Visit2/Library-Pass-Program.
The Botanic Garden of Smith College is open to the public seven days a week and serves as a living museum, showcasing plants native to New England and other ecosystems around the world. Its goals are education, research, display and conservation. The garden features the Lyman Conservatory and Church Exhibition Gallery, the campus arboretum and a variety of specialty gardens, totaling more than 7,000 labeled and mapped plants.
Free guided tours (given to more than 1,800 students each year) and bus subsidies, funded by the Friends of the Botanic Garden, are offered to local school groups. General tours of the Lyman Conservatory, the exhibition gallery, and the outdoor gardens and arboretum can be tailored to complement classroom study. Tours are available for local groups and nonprofit organizations. Local community members participate in an intensive volunteer training program and serve as tour guides. Audio tours of the Lyman Conservatory are available.
Two seasonal floral displays are held annually in the Lyman Conservatory: the Spring Bulb Show and the Fall Chrysanthemum Show. The Church Exhibition Gallery offers changing educational exhibitions (for information on current exhibits and events see our website). The Woods of the World display is a permanent installation of 178 different kinds of wood, with information about each wood’s characteristics and the formation of grain patterns. Plant Life Through the Ages, is a 60-foot-long plant evolution mural, providing an artful journey through the evolution of plants over the course of 3.5 billion years of life on earth.
The Smith campus is an arboretum, featuring more than 1,100 woody trees and shrubs. Specialty gardens include the Systematics Garden (where plants are arranged by family); Rock Garden; Perennial Border; Happy Chace ’28 Garden near the president’s residence; Japanese Garden; Wildflower and Woodland Garden; and Capen Garden, designed as a series of outdoor garden rooms, including a rose arbor, formal knot, color garden and perennial display.
Engineering Design Clinic Project
In collaboration with the Northampton Department of Public Works, a student team in the engineering Design Clinic class developed a culvert evaluation program for the City of Northampton. The project won an award from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying in recognition of students’ collaboration with engineering professionals.
Public School Involvement
About 20 to 30 graduate and undergraduate student interns complete their student teaching practica in Northampton public school classrooms each year. The teachers who serve as mentors receive a stipend, are entitled to take a course at Smith (which would normally cost $5,160) and are granted Smith library privileges. Many Northampton public school teachers have completed graduate work at Smith. Each year, as part of their coursework, some 100 Smith students serve as tutors in Northampton schools and as mentors and tutors in a variety of high school and middle school programs. Faculty members from the college’s education and child study department and teachers from the Smith College Campus School regularly engage in professional development work with Northampton teachers.
Sixteen master’s-level Smith College School for Social Work (SSW) students are interning in Northampton for the 2019–20 training year. SSW students are engaged in 30-hour-a-week, 8-month clinical internships in local agencies, including ServiceNet, the Northampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Collaborative for Educational Services, Cutchins Programs for Children and Families, Grace House Center for Human Development, Northampton High School, Smith College Campus School, Smith College Counseling Service and the Trauma Institute.
The Smith College Campus School serves children from kindergarten through grade six. Founded in 1926, the school serves as a laboratory for the college’s Department of Education and Child Study. The Campus School enrolls 230 children from Northampton and surrounding communities. Approximately 80 percent of the students are from families unaffiliated with Smith.
The Smith College Center for Early Childhood Education at Fort Hill offers full- and part-time early education and care for children from infancy through preschool and is open to all children in the surrounding communities. The program is inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education. The center offers tours and observations of the school and professional development opportunities to educators in the community.