AHTR (arthistoryteachingresources.org) is an open online community of practice and resource repository for educators who integrate visual and material culture in their teaching practice. Founded in 2011 and maintained by a 9-member volunteer leadership collective, made of faculty and museum professionals throughout the U.S., AHTR believes that good instruction is essential to the future of the arts and humanities.
The lack of adequate teacher preparation within graduate programs has resulted in faculty at all academic ranks, who may be expert in content, but often unprepared and ineffective at transferring the knowledge and skills that underscore the value of their discipline to students. These conditions reflect a general attitude in the academy–and in society–that undervalues the academic labor of teaching. If the arts and humanities are to flourish, educators need greater institutional support and recognition for practitioner-based reflection, research, and publication on activities in the classroom, and opportunities for professional development and cross-sector exchange to advance teaching and learning.
AHTR arose in order to improve these circumstances. Now drawing over 16,000 discrete visitors each month, the site demonstrates the need and demand for support among educators across sectors and in different learning environments. In addition to providing links to faculty professional development resources, the site includes a repository of adaptable lesson plans on topics in art history and the AHTR Weekly, a series of blog posts by guest contributors sharing teaching ideas, instructional tools, and reflections on their educational experience. AHTR also maintains a social media presence on Twitter and facilitates dynamic exchange among a public group on Facebook.