The Aga Khan Museum, opened September 2014 in Toronto, Canada, is the first museum in North America dedicated to the arts and the cultures of the world of Islam. Founded by His Highness the Aga Khan, the Museum is dedicated to the acquisition, preservation and display of artifacts – from various periods and geographies – relating to the intellectual, cultural, artistic and religious heritage of communities in the world of Islam. Through art, performances, exhibitions,
research, education and collaboration with other leading international
institutions, the Aga Khan Museum promotes knowledge of the contributions of
Islamic civilizations to world heritage.
The Museum collection contains over one thousand artefacts and artworks and spans over one thousand years of history. The objects – in ceramic, metalwork, ivory, stone and wood, textile and carpet, glass and rock crystal objects, parchment and illustrated paintings on paper – present an overview of the artistic accomplishments of civilizations of Islam from the Iberian Peninsula to China.
Housed in a innovative new building, the Museum allows the public to experience the living traditions of these societies as well as their artistic and cultural practices. The Museum was designed by the renowned Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki. The abstract notion of light and the light of human creativity and openness were sources of inspiration for the design of the Aga Khan Museum. Maki’s design is contained in a 10,000m² building within a simple rectilinear footprint 81 metres long by 54 metres wide. The four primary functions (exhibition spaces, an auditorium, classrooms and workshops, and library and media-centre) revolve around a central courtyard, which acts as the heart of the building and integrates the different functions into a cohesive whole while allowing each space to maintain its independence, privacy, and character.
The Museum shares the site with the Ismaili Centre, designed by Charles Correa, and is surrounded by a ten-hectare landscaped park, designed by Vladimir Djurovic. Together, they constitute important landmarks and green space for the city of Toronto.
Bentley, Patricia, and Ruba Kana'an. Learning at the Aga Khan Museum A Curriculum Resource Guide for Teachers Grades One to Eight. Toronto, ON: Aga Khan Museum, 2015. https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/learn/educators#teachers.
Learning at the Aga Khan Museum: A Curriculum Resource Guide for Teachers, Grades One to Eight gives teachers ideas and resources for using the Aga Khan Museum collections, exhibitions, and performing arts programs to teach core competency skills in Arts, Sciences, Mathematics, Literacy, and Social Studies while fulfilling specific expectations in the Ontario Ministry Curriculum.
As a teacher, you can use this Guide in the classroom and access other resources such as high-resolution images on the Aga Khan Museum website. You can also use the Guide as additional help in the galleries during a class visit to the Museum.
The Guide is divided into five sections:
Section One: Introduction gives a general introduction to the Aga Khan Museum and ways to understand its core mission, vision, and values, as well as a brief background on the significant cross-cultural exchanges that have always characterized the history of the arts in Muslim civilizations.
Section Two: Art-Based Learning describes the ways teachers can use works of art — whether visual or performing arts — to foster learning and understanding with their students.
Section Three: Learning with Aga Khan Museum Resources gives examples from the Aga Khan Museum Permanent Collection, or from performances in the Museum’s auditorium, to illustrate
the method of art-based learning for specific school grades. This method involves posing questions and conducting activities that engage students in active inquiry.
Section Four: Lesson Plans includes lesson plans that demonstrate step by step how to use the Museum’s resources to fulfill the Ontario Curriculum requirements.
Section Five features a glossary of terms and a list of resources for further exploration.