Teaching while learning — the student guide experience

"Teaching others about art while also still learning new information never gets old."

Painting at the Ackland Art Museum
UNC alum John Townsend walks past a painting by British artist Howard Hodgkin titled "As Time Goes By (red)" on July 25, 2017, at the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill. John and Marree Townsend gifted the painting to the Ackland. (Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

"Teaching others about art while also still learning new information never gets old."

Rachel Mauney ’20 spent her first two years at Carolina dedicated to courses for a pre-med degree — until she discovered the Student Guide program at the Ackland Art Museum.

Rachel immediately fell in love with the program — and the arts — and decided to switch her major to art history with the hope of becoming an art history professor.

The Ackland Student Guide program is an opportunity for UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduate and graduate students to learn about the Museum’s collection and to teach from original works of art. Students participate in weekly trainings with Museum educators, graduate students, curators and veteran guides.

Rachel worked her way up through the program to her current position as head student guide.

“My experience as a student guide has been affirming and continues to be so exciting,” she said. “It is a great way of practicing the skills I hope to use and build upon as a professor one day.”

Every Friday, Rachel leads activities and facilitates conversations about art with the public and UNC-Chapel Hill students. Student guides also get to select and present three specific objects in the Museum every Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

“Teaching others about art while also still learning new information never gets old.”

Rachel Mauney headshot.

Rachel Mauney ’20

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