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Museum Paper: Telling Stories in Art

“Telling Stories in Art”, is anchored on the idea that art is a powerful tool in telling stories. Art reflects our culture and history, provide valuable insights into ourselves, our surroundings, and the society we live in, making it possible to teach certain concepts from other disciplines/subjects through art.

The learning modules in this project are designed to complement the Philippine’s Department of Education 2002 Revised Basic Education Curriculum (RBEC), specifically Makabayan (Geography, History and Social Studies- HKS and Music, Arts and PE – MSEP), and English subjects for grade four elementary students.

Specific art works from the Lopez Museum’s collection are used to explore learning unit themes listed below:

                1)      Governor General Ramon Blanco: Who am I? Exploring identity through portraits

                2)      Amorsolo’s Comic Strips: Cause and Effect

3)      El Asesinato del Governador Bustamante y su Hijo: Power and conflict

Each learning module includes an image of the artwork, details of the artwork (title, date, medium, and dimensions), name of artist and a brief background on the artist. Suggested questions are also be provided and teachers are encouraged to use these to direct class discussion, promote more attentive looking, generate questions from students and encourage them to voice out their observations and opinions. The activity and follow-up activities are designed as a combined cognitive and creative exercise.

Overarching Objectives

  • Introduce grade four students to some of the works in the Lopez Museum collection
  • Explore themes that address learning objectives across multiple disciplines: Art, History, English and Filipino
  • Provide teachers with an additional resource to supplement conventional teaching methods
  • Assist teachers in enhancing and expanding the learning experience of their students through an integrated approach to teaching

Teaching Models

This project uses Discipline-Based Art Education (DBAE) and Integrated Arts models in curriculum development. 

DBAE emerged in the 1980’s when the movement in art education shifted towards a subject matter point-of-view, stressing that on top of art-making, art education should also include art history and criticism. This model positions art as an academic subject that involves multiple disciplines (Michael, 1991) and puts art as equally important as the other academic disciplines Focused on four major disciplines: aesthetics, studio art, art history and art criticism, DBAE aims to transform students’ understanding of art from naïve to sophisticated. Its ultimate goal is to “produce educated adults who are knowledgeable about art and its production and responsive to aesthetic properties of works of arts and other subjects.” Unlike previous art curriculum models that only emphasize art-making, DBAE puts higher value in the cognitive activities in art education. (Greer, 1984)

The Integrated art was conceived to connect art to other subjects in the school curriculum and highlights the value that art brings to the other subjects. It encourages collaboration between teachers to effectively design seamless lessons that integrate art with the other academic subjects. (Stewart and Walker, 2005)

RBEC Learning Objectives Addressed

Below is a summary of the specific fourth grade RBEC objectives addressed by the learning modules:





Governor General Ramon Blanco: Who am I? Exploring identity through portraits




Amorsolo’s Comic Strips: Cause and Effect




El Asesinato del Governador Bustamante y su Hijo: Power and conflict




Specific objectives addressed per module are listed within.


Although these modules were designed for classroom use, they may also be used during a visit to the museum. Please note that you may need to communicate with the museum prior to your visit to ensure that the works are on exhibit. Parents may also use these modules as a pre-visit activity to introduce to their children to what they can expect to see at the Lopez Museum.


This project is created by Ethel Villafranca, in collaboration with Ricky Francisco (Lopez Memorial Museum‘s Collections Management Consultant) and Mary Ann Pernia (Education Consultant), for her course in Curriculum Teaching Art. Ethel is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Museum Studies, with a disciplinary concentration in Museum Education, at the University of Florida.