Moomah the Magazine
The Art of Instruction

The Art of Instruction

-  Lisel Ashlock

On a recent tour of the Chronicle Books offices in San Francisco, we were inundated with a wealth of creative artifacts, present and past. One thing that stopped us in our tracks was the newly released collection of lithograph-illustrated scientific wall charts from the 19th and 20th century classrooms. Before 1870, it was impossible to produce large prints inexpensively, but with the invention of lithography, large pieces of art became suddenly accessible. These posters quickly gained popularity in the world of education, resulting in articulate but stunning diagrams of everything from botany to zoology, bringing science to life to students of all ages.


French commissioner, Charles Bigot, is largely responsible for these oversized lithographs entering into the education system. A huge supporter of using this beautiful imagery in the classroom, he was ahead of his time in saying, “It is not enough to teach design in schools: we must…make the school itself a museum, a kind of sanctuary where there is still beauty as well as science and virtue. Let the child live, surrounded by noble works that constantly speak to him, arousing his curiosity, raise his soul… Art must come to him from almost all sides as the air he breathes.”

We felt lucky to walk through Chronicle, marveling at the intricacy and beauty of art work past, grateful that it remains today— a rare reminder of how magical and inspirational our children’s learning environments can be.

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Posted in: Discover & Learn   

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