Reimagining the MUSES

Long ago, in ancient Greece, it was believed that arts, sciences and languages gave human beings access to the creative spark and insight into the forces ruling the world. Education was seen as the highest good because it shaped the citizens, artists, and thinkers of the future who made civilization possible.

The Greeks credited divine beings known as the Muses with the invention all known arts and sciences, as well as the education that transmitted these gifts from each generation to the next. Instruction in the full range of disciplines was seen as essential to cultivating young people of talent and character.

Since then the range of scientific knowledge has exploded and music, letters, and the arts have continued to evolve. But along the way, the concept of educating the whole child with a curriculum that embraces the arts has been often lost sight of. Until now.

Value of humanist education

activating the muse within

MUSE Academy is inspired by reimagining the Ancient Greek Muses for the needs of today's children, with a holistic curriculum that gives equal weight to languages, mathematics, music, dance, drama, sciences, and the visual arts.

Rather than divine beings, our Muses are the inner potential of children who are hungry for knowledge and capable of creative expression. Our educators' role is to draw out this spark in them and provide the skills and disciplines required to pursue learning and art at a high level. The MUSE curriculum is carefully sequenced in early years with a focus on social and multi-sensory instruction. This sets the stage for students to then pursue their individual passions at a high level in middle school and beyond, including self-designed projects and courses of study.

Of course, the Muses in Brooklyn today have come a long distance, given the mix of cultures that informs our community and the explosion of science and technology that shapes our world. But the aspiration to mold young people who are capable of excelling across a wide range of human endeavors remains unchanged.

Reinventing the Nine Muses

Birth of Learning

Among other things, the Muses were said to have invented the theory and practice of learning, enabling knowledge to accumulate and be transmitted from generation to generation. Each Muse was associated with a particular area of human knowledge and arts.

  • Clio: Discovered history and guitar and is associated with heroic acts, is often depicted with a war trumpet in the right arm and a book in the left hand.
  • Euterpe: Inventor of several musical instruments and the dialectic argument, she holds a flute and is surrounded by other instruments.
  • Thalia: The muse of comedy, geometry, architectural science and agriculture, and is often seen holding a theatrical comic mask.
  • Melpomene: The inventor of tragedy and rhetoric, she often holds a tragic mask and a sword.
  • Terpsichore: Invented dance, the harp and education, she is often seen with her head circled with laurels, holding a lyre, and dancing.
  • Erato: The muse of love poetry, she is depicted with a lyre, a bow, and a quiver of love arrows.
  • Polymnia: Her diverse inventions spanned sacred hymns, geometry, and grammar, and can be seen looking up to the sky with a lyre in her arm.
  • Ourania: The muse of astronomy, she bears stars, a celestial sphere and a compass.
  • Calliope: As the muse of epic poetry, she was the patron of great kings and bards, and is seen holding laurels in one hand and a writing tablet and stylus in the other.

A provoking thought for our students: if the Muses were to return to Brooklyn today how would we depict them and how might their patron arts and sciences have changed?

Liberal Arts, Music, and Performing Arts

The MUSES Today

In modern usage, the Muses are most often associated with artistic inspiration.

At MUSE Academy, the concept of the Muses has inspired us to reimagine education that addresses the needs of the whole child by giving equal weight to language, science, music and the performing arts. We view human knowledge and artistic expression as a continuum that feeds the minds, bodies, hearts, senses, and souls of children.

We invite you to undertake the journey with us by becoming a MUSE Academy family.