On February 3rd, the English 4 Non-Western literature class learned from a whole new perspective by touring the Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum, Crow Museum, and the Dallas Museum of Art. Non-Western Literature is a senior class taught by Mrs. Row and Mr. McGowan. The class explores the modern books of various cultures not typically discussed in English class. The students just finished their study of Yukio Mishima, a contemporary Japanese author who wrote about Japanese imperialism and the Samurai culture, illustrated in his novel The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea.
Taegoon Kim ’15 shared his experience, saying, “I went to the tour because I wanted to visually see, not just read, about the Samurais that we were learning. As I experienced these ancient exhibits which date back for hundreds and even thousands of years, some of those artifacts gave me shivers as I imagined each samurai going into battle with the armor and swords.” Mr. McGowan added, “Our students enjoyed the trip primarily because they saw artifacts they had only seen before in pictures or film.”
The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum is located in Downtown Dallas in what used to be the Saint Anne’s school. The museum has a vast display of Samurai armor and artifacts of the Edo period, and the exhibit held many different artifacts from Ancient Japanese culture, including swords, kimonos (Japanese clothing), and horse armor. The sizable collection was created in 2012 by the Barbier-Mueller family and is now a state-wide renown museum.
After this leg of the trip, the class ate lunch at the food trucks in Clyde Warren Park. The class then pressed on to the Crow Museum, which holds another vast collection of Asian artifacts. The Crow Museum, started by Mr. and Mrs. Trammell Crow, is an Asian art museum specializing in works from the countries of China, Japan, India and Southeast Asia with pieces ranging from 3500 B.C. to the 20th century. Concluding the trip the class visited the Dallas Museum of Art to experience ancient Asian artwork firsthand.
Kim found the trip incredibly interesting: “I’ve experienced living history and numerous knowledge that I had never known. I believe this tour was worthwhile especially because we get to come out of class and actually see the artifacts. Seeing can have much more impact than learning for sure.” The trip was a great demonstration of Jesuit’s mission to teach both in and outside of the classroom. Teaching outside the classroom is essential, allowing students to experience the subjects they are learning much more closely. Based on the description of the trip by seniors, it seemed to be a great balance of fun and learning. Connor Kerl ’15 described the field trip as a great opportunity, noting that “During our museum trips for our English class, we had the opportunity to gain a better understanding of our foreign literature by analyzing the differences between our western cultures and the East Asian cultures that contribute to their literature. Learning about Japanese religion, culture, and history helped me to understand the culture represented in The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima.”
The glowing reviews of the trip help classify it as a massive success, and other classes should take note. Learning outside of the classroom opens new doors for students to further immerse themselves in different subjects.