Glenstone Museum opens new expansion, one school stands out

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In past years, the Humanities Program at Poolesville has been creatively enhanced by its visits to the Glenstone Museum, one of the world’s largest private museums, located in nearby city of Potomac. The museum sits on a 230-acre plot of land and showcases many notable artists from the 19th and 20th century, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Keith Haring, and Willem De Kooning. Visiting the museum is described as an exclusive experience as they only allow 400 visitors per day and prohibit all types of photography. This year, freshman had a different experience while visiting the museum, as it opened an entirely new expansion building late this year, resulting in fewer trips being allowed.

The partnership between the Glenstone Museum and PHS began in 2015. Allison Wilder, a Humanities teacher at the time, explained the formation of the partnership. “Ms. Levine had encouraged our school leadership team to go and visit Glenstone as a group to think about the possibilities of what a partnership with them could do for the school.”

According to Mrs. Wilder, the Glenstone staff who they met with are the ones who proposed multiple yearly visits, a privilege unique to Poolesville High School only, as a result of our prime location and the scheduling of the Humanities block. Wilder described it to be a“very convenient partnership.”

Glenstone provides opportunities for middle and high school students to learn in an environment which encourages direct connection with art, architecture, and nature. They encourage student involvement by providing bus transportation and substitute teacher reimbursement.

Recently, Glenstone had its official opening of the Pavilions expansion, which opened October 4th – a five year and $200 million construction project, which all tickets were sold out for in 36 hours.The opening of the expansion did not change the structure or purpose of the Humanities program visits, but did change a major aspect for this year’s freshman class.

“This year, the freshmen were only able to go once. They had a flat rule for all schools, because they were so booked,” Wilder says. Fortunately, Humanities teachers Horan, Van Yuga, and Leong worked together in order to accommodate to new museum policy, finding other creative areas to take trips to. Next year, hopes are that the visiting schedule will be back to normal for the freshman.

At the dedication ceremony for the Pavilions, preceding the opening, five eclectic speakers were featured – the two founders of Glenstone, Mitchell Rales and Emily Wei Rales, the County Executive of the Montgomery County Council, Isiah Leggett, The First Lady of Maryland, Yumi Hogan, and Humanities senior Joe Dwyer. Dwyer spoke on the “profound impact” the visits had on him as a musician in his freshman year, describing how the staff guided him to experience visual art the same as music. Dwyer’s inclusion with other notable speakers speaks on just how much Glenstone values Montgomery County students and their experiences at Glenstone.