1. Visitors Helping Visitors
Today I saw two great moments where visitors encouraged other visitors. The first was a family where the kids wanted to play with a game in the exhibit, but the parents wanted to move on. The parents told the kids to keep playing, as they were both old enough and the adults were four feet away in an open room.
2. Follow the Pirate Flag!
Sometimes we have to adapt or create activities for visitors on the spot. The other day we had a small group of preschoolers in an exhibit that is kinda scary (we did not expect this reaction from kids until it opened), so I decided to lead them through one of the scariest parts. We marched through while I waved a “pirate flag”, a pink, zebra-striped bandana. It worked!
3. A Change of Scenery
We have a new ticket desk! We used to have a temporary movie theater-like booth. It is amazing to see how visitor interactions have changed now that we have a booth (they still think our exhibits are movies, though).
4. The Best Questions
This week I’ve gotten the best questions from visitors. Last Friday, when we opened the pirate exhibit, I had two young visitors (under 10) ask me about cannon. One had been reading the exhibit text and wanted to know where the letter A was on the trunnions, and then asked what a trunnion was. I didn’t know, but was able to tell him later. My second young visitor asked me how cannon are fired. It was AWESOME. I don’t get to hear questions from kids that often (one dad even discouraged his daughter from asking me a question the other day because I “don’t know anything”.) so I love every kid interaction I get. And if you engage the kids, the adults then follow. We also had an event where tour guides from an area company visited the museum. It was fabulous. I got so many great questions!
5. Bringing History to Life Through Craft
I found the American Duchess blog in my freshman or junior year of college through the first project, an 18th century inspired owl costume. I’ve followed the blog sporadically since then, but I love how it brings history to life through scholarship and craft. I know I’m not the only one that loves the new trend focused on vintage and “what’s old is new” and with a little steampunk thrown in there, too. I love this trend because I see the potential for history education inside of it. Plus American Duchess sells really awesome historic reproduction shoes. And I normally don’t care about shoes at all, so this is high praise coming from me. Granted, I haven’t bought any, because I don’t do costume work, but if I did, I know where I’d go.
What have you been finding in museums?