Teaching Initiatives 

The Chipstone Foundation actively uses its collections to teach students of all ages in Wisconsin and around the world through our videos and online resources.

Object Lab

Object Lab is a four-day, all expenses paid, material studies program for third and fourth year undergraduate students. It exposes participants to new and diverse means of interacting with, studying, and analyzing material things. Since 2009, the program has brought together a range of students and scholars from the fields of Art History, History, History of Science, Archeology, Literature, and Art, as well as practicing artists and manufacturers. Students learn through engagement with scholars, artists, and manufacturers as well as from hands-on exposure to objects from the collections of the Chipstone Foundation and other museums. Object Lab takes place annually in May or June. An online application is available from late February through March. Selected students will be invited to have a telephone interview.

Material Culture Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a national center for the study of the material world. The Material Culture Program brings together faculty and students from across the university. It trains students to study all aspects of the material world and the built environment to prepare them for a wide range of careers in museums, historical sites, and schools.  The Foundation supports this program through student assistantships, grants, and a faculty appointment, the Stanley and Polly Stone Professor of American Decorative Arts, Prof. Ann Smart Martin, a specialist in early American material culture and the history of consumption.

University Teaching

The Chipstone Curator has a teaching appointment in Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2013, the Foundation expanded this role to include other collaborations. The current Chipstone Curator team-taught a large undergraduate course on Tangible Things with Prof. Laurel Ulrich at Harvard University. This course is also the foundation for an interdisciplinary book to be published by Oxford University Press. They created an innovative version of the course online through HarvardX, a division of EdX, to make the program available for free to students around the world. The goal of this collaboration is to teach students of all ages how to look closely at and find meaning in material things. 

Classroom Outreach

Some Chipstone projects are designed to support elementary and high  school teaching. Discover free classroom resources, including lesson plans  and teaching videos related to The Dave Project.