Volunteer Opportunities - September 2010

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Postal Museum volunteers have two opportunities this year: Highlights Docents and Collection Connection Station Facilitators. This presentation describes the two positions.

Postal Museum volunteers have two opportunities this year: Highlights Docents and Collection Connection Station Facilitators. This presentation describes the two positions.

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Transcript

  • 1. Volunteer Training Saturday, September 11, 2010 Smithsonian National Postal Museum
  • 2. Volunteer Opportunities Available
    • Highlights Tour Docent
    • Collection Connection Station Facilitator
    • More information about both positions is available in your handbook!
  • 3. What is a Highlights Tour?
    • Fosters connections between visitors and the museum’s collection and themes
    • 40 minute guided experience through multiple museum exhibit spaces
    • Based on content research and personal passions
    • Integrates Visitors’ Experiences
    • Storytelling
  • 4. What does a Docent do?
    • Sets up a set time to start a tour
    • Arrives 10 minutes before hand to review galleries
    • Gathers tour group at the top of the escalators
    • Introduces the theme and gets to know visitors on tour
    • Connects visitors to museum themes through three to four interpretive object-based stops
    • Concludes tour
  • 5. Example Tour Themes
    • Romance & Reality of the Mails
    • Innovation and the Post
    • American History and the Mail
    • Oops!
    • “ Letters Mingle Souls”
  • 6. What is a Collection Connection Station?
    • Fosters connections to the museum’s collection and themes
      • Personal
      • Across galleries
    • Visitor-driven
    • Active
    • Social
    • Flexible, adaptive
    • Short
    • For everyone
    • Fun
  • 7. What do Collection Connection Facilitators do?
    • Situate themselves in a high-traffic area, facing the flow of visitors
    • Welcome and greet
    • Observe visitor characteristics and adapt
    • Offer activity
  • 8. What does a Collection Connection Facilitators do? (Continued)
    • Use interaction techniques
      • Inquiry
      • problem solving
      • tactile
    • Engage visitors
    • Make connections
    • Listen
    • Recommend gallery elements
    • Answer questions, orient, smile
    Replicas of “Snowshoe” Thompson’s skis are available for use at stations!
  • 9. Example stations
    • Facilitators create their own station, starting from scratch or a classic pre-existing station
    • OWNEY TAGS
    • RAILWAY POST OFFICE MAIL SORTING
    • BE A POSTAL HISTORIAN
    • TOPICAL STAMP COLLECTING
  • 10. Let’s try one! I’m Owney, unofficial mascot of the Railway Mail. I traveled the country on mail trains and collected the tags you see on my jacket. Visitors ask many questions about me; I’m a perfect topic for a station! Woof!
  • 11. The Owney Tag Cart
    • Materials could include “phony Owney,” images of Railway Post Office (RPO) clerks, a sorting practice case used by RPO clerks, etc
    • Directions the cart could go:
      • Sharing Owney’s story
      • Talking about life on the job for RPO clerks
      • Making a tag
      • Trying out the sorting case
    • Recommended gallery stops:
      • See the real Owney
      • Explore the train
      • See the dog sled
  • 12.
    • BE A POSTAL HISTORIAN
    Adapting to visitor’s needs (kneeling) Connecting to a gallery experience (next, go see…) Holding a piece of history (real mailbag)
  • 13. How does this benefit museum visitors?
    • What do you think?
  • 14. How does this benefit museum visitors?
    • Personalized engagement
    • Personal connections make the experience memorable, personal, and fun
    • Active learning
    • Fun
    • Orientation
    • Energizing, fights museum fatigue
    • Education in action
  • 15. What’s in it for Facilitators?
    • Variety
    • Showcase a story you love
    • Visitor-driven learning leads to pleasant surprises; always learning something new
  • 16. Questions asked on Saturday
    • How much space can I have?
      • Your station should fit on a six-foot table. We will help you edit your station so that you don’t have too much or too little going on.
  • 17. Questions asked on Saturday
    • Docents take tour groups throughout the museum. Will I feel “stuck” in one spot?
      • Many docents spend much of their tours in the “Moving the Mail” exhibit in the atrium because it’s such a great area and story. This is where you will be! You will be recommending gallery stops to visitors and even shaping what they will see and do there. You are also bringing gallery topics and ideas out from their hiding spots into the atrium for more people to enjoy.
  • 18. Questions asked on Saturday
    • Are artifacts available for me to use?
      • Yes! The Education Department collection includes snow skis, a World War II era mail bag, thousands of postage stamps, and more. We will do a “Show & Tell” at a future training to help you get to know these items and their stories. We are also prepared to purchase materials and props to turn your station concept into reality.
  • 19. Questions asked on Saturday
    • When do stations take place?
      • Any two-hour shift between 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. You could select an 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. shift, for example. Or 1-3 p.m. You decide!
    • How long do stations last?
      • Shifts are two hours. This includes time at the beginning and end of your shift to set up and put away your station materials, record visitors numbers, etc.
  • 20. More questions? E-mail Erin at blascoe@si.edu