Looking Through A New Lens

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Presentation for the November 2009 NEMA conference (New England Museum Association) on developing interdisciplinary programming for a mixed public audience.

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Looking Through A New Lens

  1. 1. Looking through a New Lens Creating Interdisciplinary Programming (Even on a Small Budget) By Meg Winikates, for the NEMA 2009 Conference
  2. 2. Who are we? <ul><li>Meg Winikates, Associate Education Director, The Discovery Museums, Acton MA </li></ul><ul><li>Mike Adams, Outreach Coordinator, Museum of Science, Boston </li></ul><ul><li>Nancy Jones, Supervisory Ranger, Longfellow National Historic Site, Cambridge </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why Do Interdisciplinary Programming? <ul><li>Why not? </li></ul><ul><li>Catch visitors with different interests and abilities </li></ul><ul><li>Play up the hidden strengths of your institution and staff </li></ul><ul><li>Give yourself some variety </li></ul><ul><li>Counteract the boxes imposed on learning by standardized testing. </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunity to reinforce critical thinking skills across subjects. </li></ul>
  4. 4. But I’m an English Major! <ul><li>Me too! </li></ul><ul><li>But I work at Y and know nothing about X… </li></ul><ul><li>But I don’t have time to research things outside my specialty… </li></ul><ul><li>But there’s no money for new programming… </li></ul>
  5. 5. Getting Started <ul><li>Underused resources of your site: what’s in the attic? </li></ul><ul><li>Your staff’s hidden talents </li></ul><ul><li>Your local library </li></ul><ul><li>The Infamous Junk Drawer (or closet, or basement…) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Learning to Look through a New Lens <ul><li>Am I starting with an object, a person, or an idea? </li></ul><ul><li>Time period, point of origin (When? Where?) </li></ul><ul><li>Materials, Maker (What, How, Who?) </li></ul><ul><li>Current Connections (What now?) </li></ul>
  7. 7. What do you wonder?
  8. 8. Take Aparts Potluck & Techno-Art
  9. 9. Take-Aparts: Writing Implements Across Time <ul><li>5000 years ago, people in Mesopotamia invented writing called ‘cuneiform.’ They kept records and sent messages on tiny slabs of clay. </li></ul><ul><li>Once baked, the clay tablets were light and easy to store and carry. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Some things never change! </li></ul><ul><li>How has this idea changed? </li></ul><ul><li>How has it stayed the same? </li></ul>
  11. 11. What do you love?
  12. 12. April is National Poetry Month <ul><li>…At the Science Museum? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Pound like an Egyptian: Papyrus Papermaking
  14. 15. What do you have?
  15. 16. Exhibits
  16. 17. More than Circuitry
  17. 18. Do You I.M.? <ul><li>Telegraphs were the original instant messaging! Here are the codes for some common phrases. Remember to leave a long enough space between letters so your partner can decode! </li></ul><ul><li>L O L O K </li></ul><ul><li>● ▬ ● ● ▬ ▬ ▬ ● ▬ ● ● ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ● ▬ </li></ul><ul><li>H I C Y A (see you) </li></ul><ul><li>● ● ● ● ● ● ▬ ● ▬ ● ▬ ● ▬ ▬ ● ▬ </li></ul><ul><li>Y E S N O </li></ul><ul><li>▬ ● ▬ ▬ ● ● ● ● ▬ ● ▬ ▬ ▬ </li></ul><ul><li>R U THR ? (are you there?) </li></ul><ul><li>● ▬ ● ● ● ▬ ▬ ● ● ● ● ● ▬ ● ● ● ▬ ▬ ● ● </li></ul><ul><li>Here are other common telegraph codes: </li></ul><ul><li>ERROR (H H) </li></ul><ul><li>● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● </li></ul><ul><li>I M I (repeat, say again, also the symbol for “?”) </li></ul><ul><li>● ● ▬ ▬ ● ● </li></ul><ul><li>SK (end of communications, no reply expected) </li></ul><ul><li>● ● ● ▬ ● ▬ </li></ul>
  18. 19. Human Machines: Scavenger Hunt How is the building's `skeleton' like your skeleton? Look around the museum for where the building's `guts' are exposed. What do you see? Compare the shark tooth to the elephant tooth. What jobs are they designed to do? What kinds of teeth do you have? What words describe how it feels to run your hands under the pin screen? Many musical instruments work like our bodies do. Can you find sound-makers that use `lungs' and `vocal cords?' What are they? How is the building’s ‘skeleton’ like your skeleton? Look around the museum for where the building’s ‘guts’ are exposed. What do you see? Compare the shark tooth to the elephant tooth. What jobs are they designed to do? What kinds of teeth do you have? Many musical instruments work like our bodies do. Can you find sound-makers that use ‘lungs’ and ‘vocal cords?’ What are they?
  19. 20. The Infamous Closet
  20. 21. Recycled Materials are an Imaginative Budgeter’s Best Friend <ul><li>You know what it is…but what if it weren’t? </li></ul>
  21. 22. We all like free stuff… but where to find it? <ul><li>Coworkers and museum members </li></ul><ul><li>Town Dump or “Swap Center” </li></ul><ul><li>Local businesses, especially grocery stores </li></ul><ul><li>Freecycle and Craigslist </li></ul>
  22. 23. Who You Gonna Call? <ul><li>When in doubt, collaborate. </li></ul><ul><li>New voices, different strengths, extra resources. </li></ul>“Yesterday’s Play” was developed by the Discovery Museums in Acton for the Carlisle Historical Society. It explored the physics behind historical toys and allowed visitors to make their own replicas to take home.
  23. 24. Contact Info <ul><li>Meg Winikates: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter ID: mwinikates </li></ul><ul><li>Delicious ID: WindsweptM </li></ul><ul><li>Blog: http://brainpopcorn.wordpress.com </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t forget to pick up a resource sheet! </li></ul>

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