Summer One Day Class: World Religions- “Theisms”

This crash course in World Religions traces religion back to its roots, and introduces students to some of the major belief systems:  animism, totemism, ancient religions, Persian Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism,  Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.   We use art as our gateway to better understanding these world views.  We discuss the roles of gods, the representations (or lack of representation) of gods, how the religion “worked” and how it may have changed over time.
Interested? And do you want to know more about this little power shown here? Check the homeschool lists for more info, or email me!F2352BED-6FEC-4DAE-920A-070F53DD23A7

Colmar Remembered


Most people have never heard of Colmar, a tiny French Alsace town near the German border.  Charlemagne knew it as a Saxon settlement, and it existed as one of the many little spaces connecting the Holy Roman Empire.  Not all of its residents were Christians.

Colmar’s “street of the Jews” once housed a synagogue, a school, a mikveh, and a thriving community, Jews living side by side peacefully with their Christian neighbors in a tumultuous Medieval landscape.

That is, until the Black Death. Jews received the blame for the plague in 1348-49, and, despite protestations from the Holy Roman Emperor and Pope, their neighbors turned against them.

They were burned alive by Colmar’s residents.

What thoughts went through their 14th century Medieval minds when they buried their treasure- a treasure no one found until 1863? And can we learn from this episode in human history? I’ve stopped asking “what can we learn” because I feel that few can see the patterns anymore.

Maps of Colmar come later, including a stunning bird’s eye  view of its homes, businesses and street life from the 1540s.  In the 1540s, there was no sign of Jewish life in Colmar.  The synagogue is gone. The school is gone.  No one remembered the Jews.

This photo is of a wedding ring from the Cloister’s current exhibit on the Colmar Treasure. Its letters represent Mazel Tov, and it depicts the Temple, which had been destroyed by Romans centuries earlier. It belonged to a human being, who most probably planned to hand it down through the generations.

Studying history through its objects offers a deep perspective.  What objects remain to tell the story?



Fall Registrations are filling fast!

bayeaux cometHello homeschoolers!  I am working on the content for the fall classes, and homeschool class spaces are going very fast!  If you’re interested in anything being offered, please reach out.  I can provide you with more details and a preliminary syllabus.  As always, more information may be found on Homeschoolny and NYCHEA email lists.  Be sure to join them to keep up to date on homeschool happenings!

Medieval History! – using the Met and written primary sources as our guides

Medieval Literature! – starring Boethius, Augustine, Chaucer, Boccaccio, and the lost writers of the Tain, Mabinogion, Icelandic Sagas, Song of Roland and more!

The Universe! – Cosmology, Astronomy, Astrophysics, and the crossroads of science and culture!

Issues in the Ancient World! – Colonialism, Racism, Orientalism, Religion and all of the other ways in which we make assumptions about Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Andean peoples, Mesoamericans, and more!

Paranormal and History! – Studying world and US history through the lens of the “unexplained” – haunted castles, alien assumptions, vampires, ghosts and other examples of the otherworldly as our lens!

Governments! – using the AP Comparative Government exam as our guide to comparing the governments of China, Iran, Great Britain, Nigeria, and Mexico…as well as others, based on student interest!  More US focus available, too!

AP styled courses in US History and Europe!, but with many additional twists and museum explorations!

I am also delighted to finish the fine-tuning on my Hunter College syllabi.  Religious Experience, Ancient Near Eastern Religions, Religions of Mexico, Central and South America, and Astrology and World Religions are offered.

I’m looking forward to a great 2019-2020 year!



One Day Classes for JULY!


How Do We Look: Art and Image through the Ages will be offered next.  This class is loosely based on Mary Beard’s book, How Do We Look, and applied to the Met’s collections on Egyptian, Greek, Mesoamerican, West African, Christian, Islamic, and Renaissance Art.  How do the Met’s “masterpieces” convey meaning? How is the human figure shown?  Why is this controversial in different historical periods?  What does this tell us about culture and about ourselves?

Proposed Dates:

Tuesday, July 2 11-1 pm  Younger students (7ish and up)

2-4 pm  Tweens and Teens

Thursday, July 11  1-3  Teens

Friday, July 19       5-7 pm High School



Shifting the Gaze:  African Identities in Art begins with Titus Kaphar’s painting, “Shifting the Gaze” at the Brooklyn Museum and then examines other works of art, from antiquity to modern, that bring into question Eurocentric bias.   It’s a bit of art history, a bit of colonialist history, and a walkthrough of one of the most spectacular museums in New York.


Proposed Dates:

Thursday, July 11

5-7 pm  High School

Wednesday, July 24 

1-3 pm  Tweens and Teens





The Empire of TIBET offers another perspective, as does the Rubin Museum.   I will be holding a one day class on FRIDAY, JULY 12 from 6-8 pm for our teens who want to explore the Rubin, the concept of empire, Tibetan Buddhism, Tibet’s neighbors, and current political issues facing Tibet, China, and the region at large.




Interested?  Let me know at for more information!


New Classes!  New Exhibits!  New Students!   Most of the continuing classes are full, but I’m delighted to offer a few new spring and summer one days, including History and Science, Empires, and new museum based classes!

Image from the new ISAW exhibit, “Hymn to Apollo:  The Ancient World and the Ballet Russes”

Science and History- a new class and new approach!

F4EB3FCB-81FC-446D-AC90-FCE8F621B34A.jpegNew Class!   Science and History – High Schoolers!

Do you love science, but hate history?  Do you love history, but hate science?  Can we study science through the study of history, and study history through the study of science, walking away with a good sense of these disciplines?

I’m designing a course that helps to bridge the gap between these worlds, sort of like a SHTEAM instead of just STEM or STEAM. Topics include forensics (from ancient Egyptian and Peruvian mummies to bog bodies, and more), DNA (what can DNA tell us about genetics, migration, adaptability, and evolution), climate change (how can we determine climate change over time and is there ancient evidence for climate change), technology (early attempts at artificial intelligence, inventions, etc), epidemiology (what can we learn about diseases in the ancient and medieval world through modern methodology), botany (plant evolution, GMOs, mind alternating substances and their uses), astronomy (ancient understanding of the sky), physics (before and after Aristotle’s four elements), and medicine (surgeries, cures and more).   We’ll meet at the Met, AMNH, and other locations throughout the city.

I will offer a few sections of an INTRO class, spanning different topics to gain a feel for what interested teens like and the days/times available, and then work on a syllabus reflecting their interests.  The target age group is 16 up, as the course is primarily college prep, but if there is interest in a middle school or early high school group, please reach out.  

Here are some proposed days/times for the trial:

Wednesday, January 9  2-4 pm

Thursday, January 10 2-4 pm

Sunday, January 13, 2-4 pm

The trial class will be $25, and will include museum admission (we will probably meet first at the AMNH)

If you’re interested for your teen, please message me:

-your student’s name and age

-the day(s) you are available for the trial

-special areas of interest

Happy New Year to All!

Classes for December

A Greek and a Turk in an Interior, Eugène Delacroix (French, Charenton-Saint-Maurice 1798–1863 Paris), Watercolor on paper

Teens!  Swing by for some last minute December one day classes on Delacroix and the 19th century, Armenia and the Medieval World, and some Treasure Hoards!  Email me at for details!

The fall semester filled up quickly, and winter session is also filling up fast!  Check offerings under “Classes Offered” or email me directly!

New Summer One Day Class: Marvel, Mythology, History and More


How can we use museum collections and popular culture to better understand themes in history and the humanities?  We will be exploring heroes such as Hercules, considering cultural appropriation and Chinese-Tibet relations, World War II, the Cold War, the mythic Hero’s Journey of Joseph Campbell, and African colonialism and imperialism — all through the lens of the Marvel Universe (plus a little DC, too).   Email me at for more information!

Spring Classes 2018

ANCIENT AMERICAS (Wednesday afternoons/Friday afternoons)


APPROACHES TO LITERATURE takes on Ursula Le Guin and issues of gender in science fiction. Tuesdays early afternoon


Image result for plato republic

Close reading of PLATO’S REPUBLIC on Tuesday afternoons

Interested?  Email Wendy at or  Classes begin during the first week of May, and extend to the second week of June




A Terracotta Warrior’s Sad Fate

terracotta thumb

It survived for over 2,000 years…but an American breaks it off for fun.   Why take a thumb from a warrior?   What does this say about us?

It isn’t the first time that the army faced ruin.  A rebellion against Qin Shihuangdi lead to the deliberate destruction of part of the site.  Many warriors were destroyed, and the tomb partially burned.  A worker stole a hand in more recent times, and was executed.

Read more about the Franklin Institute debacle here — and check them out before they leave!  This may be the last time an international group decides to loan things to American institutions.

Photo courtesy BBC