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In this activity designed specially for couples, you and your date will visit the exhibition From the Vault: American Highlights and Recent Acquisitions. Head down to the lower level of the Museum (for more activities in this exhibition, grab a gallery guide from the Front Desk on your way down). When you're finished with the activity, return to the front desk to pick up a prize!

From the Vault

The entrance to 'From the Vault' in 2022

From the Vault features some of the most beloved works from the MOA permanent collection. 12 artists are represented in this gallery space—as you view their art, consider what it means to be inspired. What may have inspired these artists to create either a specific piece or art in general? What inspires you?

Family on Horse Drawn Cart

Joseph Paul Vorst (1897-1947), 'Family on Horse Drawn Cart,' no date, oil on board, 32 ¼ x 32 ¼ inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Joyce and George Hill, 2020.

Locate Family on Horse Drawn Cart by Joseph Paul Vorst near the entrance to the exhibition. Look closely at this painting, then complete the following sentences:

  • I see...
  • I think...
  • I wonder...

The Family

Turn slightly to view the sculpture The Family by Elizabeth Catlett (photo unavailable due to copyright restrictions). Ask yourselves how different sculpting materials would impact the message of this piece. Consider the following materials:

  • Marble
  • Rusted Metal
  • Glass
  • Fabric
  • Plastic

What other materials might one use and what ideas do they communicate?

Fallen Monarchs

Fallen Monarchs.png
William Bliss Baker (1859-1886), 'Fallen Monarchs,' 1886, oil on canvas, 30 x 39 3/4 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Thomas E. Robinson, 1974.

As you continue looking at art on the same wall, pause at Fallen Monarchs by William Bliss Baker. With your date, describe the painting in as much detail as possible. Notice how quiet and secluded the location is.

Where do you go when you want to get away from the noise and busyness of life?

The Harvesters

Daniel Ridgeway Knight (1839-1924), "The Harvesters," oil on canvas, 33 1/2 x 46 3/4 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, with funds provided by Jack and Mary Lois Wheatley, 2011.

Next, take a moment to examine The Harvesters by Daniel Ridgway Knight. One of you will take on the role of an optimist, and one of you that of a pessimist. Take turns sharing what you notice about the scene. Begin your sentences with "fortunately..." (as the optimist), or "unfortunately..." (as the pessimist).

Ladies at Dinner

Dorothy Weir Young (1890-1947), "Ladies at Dinner," ca. 1930, oil on canvas on board, 25 x 30 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchase/gift of Mahonri M. Young Estate,

You will next find works by Dorothy Weir Young. Stop at Ladies at Dinner. As individuals, communities, and societies at large, we have rituals and traditions based around food. What family traditions do you have associated with food? Consider birthdays and holidays, specific family recipes, etc.

Yankee Doodle

Continue to Yankee Doodle by Norman Rockwell (photo unavailable due to copyright restrictions). Many of us were introduced to Yankee Doodle as children through the popular song. What is another childhood memory you have?

Plowing the Valley of the Great Salt Lake

Mahonri M. Young (1877-1957), "Plowing Valley of the Great Salt Lake," ca. 1930, oil on canvas, 28 1/4 x 72 1/8 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchase/gift of Mahonri M. Young Estate, 1959.

Now study Plowing Valley of the Great Salt Lake by Mahonri M. Young. Imagine you are a part of this scene.

  • What are 5 things you see?
  • Describe 4 textures you would expect to feel.
  • List 3 sounds you would hear.
  • Imagine 2 smells in the air.
  • What is 1 thing you could taste?


From the Vault BYU Museum of Art

After you finish viewing each of the pieces in the exhibition, identify your favorite work. Which would you most like to hang in your own home? Is there an image you don't like? Discuss what there is to like about it.

Bonus Activities

Have a little extra time? These bonus questions will take you to pieces not included in From the Vault.

  • Observe Gabriel Dawe's Plexus no. 29 (the rainbow installation in the MOA Atrium) from at least 4 different locations on at least 2 different levels—find your favorite perspective of it.
  • Find a work in the museum without a title. What would you title it?
  • If you could be a figure in any painting in the museum, who would you choose to be and why?

Thank you for visiting the MOA. Don't forget to return to the Front Desk for a prize!