Center for Education

A vision for learning

The Kimberly and John Simpson Center for Education is a creative catalyst for learning, growing, and becoming a better human through meaningful experiences with art. We explore, study, and share the most advantageous ways of connecting people, both students and beyond, with works of art in our collection. Through transformative experiences, our work helps to shift visitors to guests and guests to learners. We are trailblazers in education, with our work reaching global audiences.

A teaching museum by design

The Simpson Center for Education is an essential element in fulfilling our teaching museum mission. It is a major contributor to the larger educational ecosystem at Indiana University through audience-focused programs that reach learners across the lifespan. The center includes three museum-based learning spaces that serve to activate learning from original works of art, and a research initiative that produces outstanding research, courses, and creative work.

Spaces in the Center

The Simpson Center for Education includes three spaces for learning. The education lobby is a reception space and much more. At times, it also hosts hands-on interpretive activities, as well as faculty and student artwork. This space is an important component during each First Thursday event at the museum, as well as other events.

The Roehm Family Art-making Studio is an additional learning space in the center. This fully stocked studio, which includes art-making materials and infrastructure, will host art therapy groups, wellness activities, family day drop-in art-making, tour group sensory activities, teacher professional development, and children’s programs throughout the year.

The new Patrick and Jane Martin Commons, which can seat approximately 90 individuals, will host mission-based artist talks, workshops, discussions, performances, conferences, school field trip lunches, and other large group gatherings.

Research, courses, and creative work

The Simpson Center for Education is a locus for the production and discovery of outstanding research, university teaching, and creative work in the practice and theory of teaching museums. We welcome a community of students, postdocs, professors, visiting artists, and visiting scholars. We focus on art museum learning, museum art therapy, and curatorial studies.


We currently offer the following IU credit-bearing courses:

  • Art-based Wellness for Medical Students
  • Artists’ Methods and Techniques
  • Artifacts, Objects, and Everyday Life
  • Introduction to Japanese Art and Culture
  • Topics in East Asian Art: Japanese Art

We also contribute to other types of courses, such as Lifelong Learning, for which we offer curatorial, museum education, and museum art therapy courses

We are creating distance learning opportunities, which are anchored on technology that allows us to look closely at works of art at the museum and beyond its walls. High-quality zoom cameras, speakers, projection screens, and video capture enable distance learning that can reach, for example, Pre-K–12 Indiana teachers in our Rural Teachers Engaging Art (RTEA) program.


Current research projects include researching women artists in the Eskenazi Museum of Art’s collection; museum-based art therapy and neuroaesthetics; and rural teachers and restorative art education.

Creative Work

We celebrate creative work that advances our teaching museum mission, such as student exhibitions, course-connected study opportunities, museum-focused group trips, and other opportunities.

Learn more about the center

Contact Jean Graves, Chair of Education