Mining Modern Museum Education


Walker Art Center

Below, Sarah Schultz, Director of Education and Community Programs, Walker Art Center gives a brief introduction to her presentation about the beginning and continuation of “The Inquisition”, an arts quiz program that brings together community and art history experts at the Walker Art Center.

Democratizing Museums

With roots in the private collection of industrialist T.B. Walker, many people are surprised to learn that the Walker Art Center, was established as a community art center under the auspices of the federal Works Progress Administration in January 1940. Directing the new Walker was Daniel Defenbacher, the WPA official who had headed up the government’s whirlwind efforts to establish more than 70 such centers across the United States. His directorship was an opportunity to put his ideas about art and its role in society to the test and during his decade-long tenure he created an impressive roster of exhibitions and educational programs. Among these was “The Inquisition” (1940), a weekly arts quiz program in which the public propounded questions in attempt to stump a panel of experts. In 2010, the Walker’s education and community programs staff revived this program, hosting two uproarious evenings of art quiz antics.