Family Time in Museums: Unplugged Family Programming


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Family Time in Museums: Online or Unplugged?

At the movie theater we see repeated messages about no texting or talking—what about museums? While some museums ban personal devices, others embrace them. What does research tell us about personal devices as they affect learning? What turns these devices on or off: visitors’ ages, educational levels, learning styles? How are museum educators approaching this contested area? A learning specialist, a museum educator, and a museum technologist present diverse viewpoints, leading to a lively moderated discussion. This presentation was given by Emily Hope Dobkin.

Moderator: Alice Parman, Independent Interpretive Planner
Presenters: Paul Gabriel, Educational Consultant/Educational Therapist, Independent
Emily Hope Dobkin, Youth Programs Manager, Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History
Susan Edwards, Senior Writer/Editor, Web Group, J. Paul Getty Trust

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Family Time in Museums: Unplugged Family Programming

  1. 1. Hi my name is Emily and I manage the experiences of youth ages 2-17 at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History.
  2. 2. Our  mission  is  to  ignite  shared   experiences  and  unexpected   connec3ons  
  3. 3. We place value on personal interactions; community members bonding through art, history and local culture through active participation within our exhibitions & programs. Sometimes that means through a co-creating music on a sound sculpture... Or
  4. 4. Sometimes that means participating in a historical dig of Santa Cruz found within a kiddie pool full of sand & artifacts. Or
  5. 5. Maybe being part of a collaborative land art installation that raises awareness of some of our local pollinators.
  6. 6. When we plan our programs specifically for families, we think about how they can see and do things connecting to art, history and local culture that they cannot find anywhere else. As you can see there are no touch tables, video monitors or audio devices. We are a low tech museum.
  7. 7. We're down to the basics (which often times means big giant bubbles)
  8. 8. However, one way we are plugging technologically at the museum is through photography.
  9. 9. Not just any snapshot... (although this is pretty great)
  10. 10. But snapshots featuring the future superheros of the world!
  11. 11. During our community programs, we design photo booths, also known as “Show & Tell Booths” that allow our visitors to share stories about their experiences during their visit to the museum; some prompts include: "I made ____ at the MAH” "I met _____ at the MAH” "I loved ______ at the MAH” In this way, these photobooths are completely immersive experience
  12. 12. This is an example of what visitors fill out before taking their photo for the Show & Tell booth; we take down the family’s email address so we can email them a link to the hi-resolution photograph. In turn, we have their contact information and we can continue to inform them of upcoming family programs. We also also encourage them to take their own photos using the hashtag “#santacruzmah”
  13. 13. After an event, we put the photos on our Flickr page where visitors can download the high-res version, as well as on Facebook
  14. 14. We've found that families really enjoy taking these photos, and tend to memorialize these experiences; many further share these photos through various social network opportunities. EXAMPLE: Here is a family at a workshop from last fall. The mother (the amazing Mariah Roberts) made this her Facebook profile. It received over 30 likes and triggered a dialogue (read dialogue)
  15. 15. Analyzing further: we find not only a lovely SHARED EXERPEICNE, but also an UNEXPECTED CONNECTION Thus Mission accomplished!