RSS Feed

Category Archives: School Groups

Friday Finds (#6)!

Today’s Friday Finds is not going to be as happy as they usually are because of some family stuff going on right now.

1. Bullying

Bullying is (unfortunately) something I see at least once a week. Kids have hidden behind me to keep from being punched (third graders), and on Monday two girls said cruel things to another girl, an absolute stranger. The teased girl’s response? “You all must really hate me or something.” She must have been about fourteen. How sickening. How do you prevent or stop bullying in your museums?

2. Research!

This past week has been spent researching pirates. This means that I’ve been ensconced in 18th century pirate lore, which is pretty cool. One question: why do traveling exhibits now keep their bibliographies on separate websites instead of in the companion books? This makes research difficult for folks who want to keep up to date with exhibit information.

3. Friendly Visitors

Our visitors this past weekend were all super friendly. I think this was partly due to the holiday weekend, and partly due to the fact that everyone was coming to see our one main exhibit! Woohoo!

What have you found in your museums in the past week?

Friday Finds (#5)!

I have had a very rough week in my personal life, so this will be short, sweet, and to the point!

1. Singing in a Bird Exhibit
We have an exhibit on birds right now, and it’s great. Unfortunately, it’s not great for kids under 5 without a LOT of adult supervision. We had 60 under-5’s visit today, and it was soon a mess. I led the kids in singing songs about birds, and we went on a “bird hunt”. It was fun, but I really, really need to reacquaint myself with my under-5’s materials.

I highly recommend keeping songs in your back pocket for circumstances like this one.

2. Keeping Magic Alive
Have you seen this video from the National Museum of American History? I love the way that they keep magic alive and have tie-ins to museum objects and careers! What a fabulous project!

My boyfriend and I went to the Botanical Garden (next to the Capitol Building) yesterday and found fairy houses in a hallway. They’re intricate and beautiful and subtly magical.

What have you found in your museum his week?

Friday Finds (#3)

It’s Friday (night!) and what a long day it has been. Between the groups (8 scheduled, 6 visited) each with 50-100 students (and in one case, seniors), the ending of an exhibit, and after a long week… I’m ready for a good night’s rest. Tomorrow we expect 6 groups and over 1000 visitors, when our museum does not often have over 1000 on a weekend. Yeah, it’s going to be exhausting. The good thing is that I’ve learned a WHOLE LOT this week alone, especially from the school groups.

Things I’ve found in the museum:

1. Things in Places They Should Not Be

I found a waterbottle and a packet inside one of our exhibit structures today. I once found a kid inside of the structure (he couldn’t reach over the wall to play the game, so he climbed inside of the game) when the exhibit first opened, but I’ve never had to climb inside of it to pull something out. Now I can say I’ve been inside of a game.

2. Kids Need Structure

I admire teachers for all that they do. Many of our visiting teachers are great, and I really admire what they do with their students. I also understand that they and the chaperons are sometimes unprepared for what they are going to do with the students inside of the museum. This is something that I try to absolve by introducing the exhibit through a conversation. First I ask the kids what they should do inside the museum. They answer, and I ask until we reach the most important answers. I then ask what they shouldn’t do in the museum. This usually gets more hands… and the most interesting answers. My “favorite” answer today was that they shouldn’t fight inside the museum (fourth grade girl, which made me wonder about what has happened in previous museum trips with this school). This prepares the kids because they are hearing it from each other. I had to return to one group recently to remind them how to behave at a museum. One chaperon gathered his designated group around to hear. This was great. Then, when I started talking, I realized that I had a cluster of elementary school kids surrounding me with big grins — not just because someone was paying attention to what was going on, but because someone had decided to take charge. This experience repeated itself three times today (one child even suggested how to get her classmates’ attention). Sometimes we had extra time between exhibits, so I asked the kids content-related but easy questions. They didn’t have packets, they didn’t have anyone telling them what to do, but these kids actually learned something! Woohoo! I still  believe that structured time would have been much more successful for our hundred-plus fifth grade students. What if their groups traded places with each other at each pod (location in the exhibit) at a certain time? Most of our exhibits are interactive/video based content, so that could be easily feasible. Structure probably would have prevented the bullying that I stopped outside the exhibit today, too.

 

3. City Access New York

My dream job would be to run public programs for children and adults with disabilities, as well as working with museums to make their spaces more inviting to those with disabilities. Yesterday I discovered City Access New York (http://www.cityaccessny.org). WOW! How did I not know this organization existed? It’s an organization/group that is dedicated to bringing visitors with disabilities to the museum. Does anyone know if there are any organizations like this in the Washington, DC area?

 

4. Staff

My museum is a unique museum because it is part of a much larger organization. We often have staff walking through the hallways between the two exhibits. Some have gotten to know us, and some haven’t. Today I was approached by multiple staff members about how busy we’ve been and I have been asked about what is coming in next. I love the fact that the other staff are taking an interest. It fosters and ownership that I did not see when I started working at the museum. I recently started my own mission when it came to the non-museum/non-exhibit staff: say hello to every one that passed my spot. I’m starting to see it work. A number of staff members that I say hello to are now replying, and I’m seeing them show visitors where to go. It’s amazing, beautiful, wonderful and I love my job so much more now, because I am seeing an impact that I am making on my museum.

 

5. Conversation of the day: 

[In elevator]

Staff member: Are you busy today?

Me: Yeah, we have a lot of large groups of kids today.

Staff member: I like large groups of kids.

[Exit elevator, walk out to main hall, where a ton of students are standing]

Staff member: I like small groups of kids!

 

6. Question of the day:

“Are the female birds (of paradise) all the same or are they different like the males?”

 

What have you found this week in your museum?

Friday Finds!

Welcome to Friday!

I’ve decided to start a new tradition: highlighting things that I’ve “found” inside museums. I hope to use an interactive, strange found objects, and maybe people.

1. Riflebird Bird of Paradise Kinetic Sculpture

20130118-091543.jpg

I LOVE this Riflebird sculpture found in the Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution exhibit at the National Geographic Museum. Adults love it because of the vegetable steamer and the film reels in the wings, and kids live it because it moves. I like it for both reasons… and I just love riflebirds!

2. 3 Pieces of Yarn and a Plastic Bead

Sometimes, you know that you have lots of kids in a museum because of the large numbers of leftover pencils in the exhibits. On Wednesday, I found three inch-long pieces of pink yarn (a super soft yarn that I want to knit with) and a white pony bead.

3. Diversity

Without counting the kids, we have a diverse group of visitors. On Wednesday, we had four school groups. One school group was from a private Muslim school, one was a bilingual school, and the others were from inner city DC. We had a minimum of three languages represented just by the children alone.

4. My Director

The museum director visited the floor the other day to help out with the large number of kids in the museum. She also has helped us out with our 3D movies. I see her at least twice a week and just love the fact that she is so involved. She also volunteers her son to help us. I deeply respect her for her presence.

What have you found in your museum this week?

%d bloggers like this: