Friday, September 24, 2010

Project Update

“Teddy’s Menagerie” is mostly going to be an exhibit for children; I want to start thinking of ideas of interactive displays. I know I want to have story times and games but I need more ideas.  The books used for story time will be books like: Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt by Leslie Kimmelman, What to do about Alice? By Barbara Kerley and Edwin Fotheringham, The President’s Daughter by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, and anymore that I can find. I am starting to research the types of games the Roosevelt children use to play and see if I can use any of them in my exhibit.  I do not know if I want to use a character for my exhibit…for example one of the Roosevelt children’s dog. I was also thinking of maybe doing a Adopt a Pet day or something…once a month a pet organization will come with similar pets of the Roosevelt children and visitors can talk with the organization on ways they can help animals in need or something. I don’t know where I am going with this or if this is even a good idea. Just a thought. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Treating People as Individuals
In Nina Simon’s book The Participatory Museum she says museum visitors want to be treated as an individual and that it is the starting point for enjoyable community experience. No one wants to enter a museum and be treated as a faceless visitor. The goal for a museum is to try to have their visitors express their own identity on entering the premises, to describe what is unique about their self.  
Shirts, name tags, buttons, stickers, etc. are wearable identities; they are the simplest and most flexible forms of self-identification. I just read an article where a child and his family won a “Golden Ticket” to go to Glazer Children’s Museum, to me this can be a way to give visitors an identity, make them feel like winners. "It's so much awesome": Big Dreams at Glazer Children's Museum I suppose it is easier to make a child feel welcome and feel like a kid when they are at a children’s museum and are surrounded by toys, games, and fun activities. The Glazer Children’s Museum has a pretend fire truck with suits and hoses, an airplane with a pilot screen showing aerial views of Tampa Bay, and a maze called Water’s Journey. How can a kid not fell welcome?
Also, with children they still have not established an identity, they are still experiencing. Meaning, children will not be able to give a museum a unique characteristic about their selves. With adults I believe is a little harder to find their uniqueness. This is where the wearable identities come into focus.
My personal experiences in visiting museums, I have not yet experienced the self-identification. I have done the “What Did You Think?” cards at the end of the tour but most of the time I am left to wander as the faceless visitor. No name tags, no buttons, no stickers, shirts, etc. the only thing that I can think of that is remotely close is buying my tickets at the front desks. Sometimes they will ask where I come from, what college I go to, what is my major, what is the meaning of my visit, and so on. Next time I visit a museum I will see if they try to treat me as an individual or treat me like another faceless visitor.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Creating A New Identity Through Participatory Experiences

In John Falk’s book Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience chapter 3 The Visitor helped me get an understanding on how I should do my final project for “Teddy’s Menagerie.” Falk states people main reasons on going to a museum are three things: desire to satisfy one’s intellectual curiosity; desire to be a good parent, and to escape. Hopefully, the desire to be a good parent will be the main reason why visitors will like to come to “Teddy’s Menagerie” since the target audience will be children. The Participatory Museum a book by Nina Simon helps me comprehend the goals of a participatory mechanism, etcetera. Since my exhibit is for children I will need to have a lot of hands on, interactive, participatory components. While reading I realized that not only do I have to come up with ideas for the children but also the parents or teachers, Unfortunately I am still working on that because so far I have no ideas, researching other children’s museums participatory components is how I am going to solve this issue, to see what they do.
                While reading both of these reading assignments I tried to think of the most memorable thing I did at a museum when I was a child. The first thing that came to mind was Carnegie’s Museum of Natural History; they had an exhibit on Ancient Egypt. They had a sand pit with tools, brushes, shifters, etc. and they wanted children to experience what it would be like to be an archeologist digging through the dirt/sand trying to find broken pottery or other exciting artifacts. But my favorite thing was we had the chance to crawl through a very small tight tunnel that led to a room that turned out to be a crypt, where an actual mummy was hidden with all of his treasures he wanted to be taken with him to the afterlife. It was so amazing! I remember how small and tight the tunnel was. How I had to weave through the turns and how the tunnel wasn’t a flat surface, but that it was bumpy and it dipped down or up. But most importantly how high my adrenaline was because I so badly wanted to get out of the tunnel that  when I reached the crypt I was so excited for the space  I barely recognized the mummy but when I did I knew the claustrophobia I just experienced was worth it.
                This interactive made me and my fellow students feel like real archaeologists and real explorers. It gave us a chance to experience a new identity, to learn something new and having fun doing it. This is what I want to happen when children visit “Teddy’s Menagerie” to feel like they were a part of the family’s many adventures. To feel life they are a son or daughter of President Roosevelt’s to feel as free, wild, and independent as any of them. This is my goal.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Age: 5-15; 25-45(parents and teachers)
Sex: mixed
Race/Ethnicity: mixed
Size of Family: ?
Education Level: Kindergarten-Junior High
Income Level: average $66,000 yearly
Geography: mixed

My exhibit will be called “Teddy’s Menagerie” I still haven’t decided where I want it to be exhibited. I do know that this exhibit is important because it will inform the public about one of America’s most famous and wild families that lived in the White House. 
Theodore had six children: Alice, Theodore Jr., Kermit, Ethel, Archibald, and Quentin, but each one was wild and outgoing in every way possible. The most popular was Alice because of her spirited behavior and her being “allergic to discipline” always made her a target for publicity. President Roosevelt even said "I can either manage Alice or the country. I can't do both.” There are also many stories about the children and their menagerie of pets, stories of bringing snakes to parties or office meetings to riding a pony in the White House elevator. I believe children and even adults would love to learn about the Roosevelt Family and how they shocked the nation. It is always important to remember our nation Presidents and their families.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Project Update (2)

From what we learned last week in class, I figure I should start my strategic planning. I figure I should start out with what my goals are going to be, for my exhibit “Teddy’s Menagerie”

1.) To educate the public on our nation’s 26th President Theodore Roosevelt’s children and their pets.

2.) Tell Roosevelt stories to get children interested in history.

3.) Have children and adults understand the differences in the household and family during Roosevelt’s time from the modern era.

I am having trouble on how to finance this exhibit; I do not have any ideas on how to sell this exhibit to a board or committee. I know this is one of the important steps in strategic planning, but I think I need a couple of ideas. See you Monday and have a wonderful weekend!

Project Update (1)

I am still unsure about the whole concept of the final project. But, so far my idea is going to relate to one of the programs we were going to do at the National First Ladies' Library. I did my internship at NFLL this summer under Lucinda "Cyndee" Frailley we were going to do three children's summer reading programs but they were cancelled due to the lack of kids. One of the programs was going to be on President Theodore Roosevelt's children and their pets. I started the research but once the program was cancelled I did not finish.

The audience will be children and their parents and the museum will mostly be a History Museum or something similar. I am not sure if this is what you wanted for the weekly project update or if I have the wrong idea for the project. So this is why I am sending the email early. So if it is wrong I can send you another one "hopefully correct" for tomorrow. If it is possible can you send me a type of rubric you want for this project. If possible thank you but if not that is okay. See you Monday!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Finding An Identity

John Faulk states that the focus of Americans is drifting away from the workplace and is heading towards leisure, “from striving for survival to searching for personal fulfillment and satisfaction” (page 44). In his book Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience he describes leisure becoming more centered upon a quest for something larger and something more fulfilling, a quest for identity. Individuals are seeking to build their knowledge and finding his or her personal or group identity.

As a child and teen growing up in a small country town, living in a rural community there was never many museums, zoos, or amusement parks nearby. But, when we did make a 2-4 hour drive to spend a day or a weekend at a museum, zoo, or amusement park it was one of the one things we remember about that year. After spending a day in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Museum or Columbus Zoo I would always run home to tell my family, friends, and everyone about the things I saw and learned that day. It was like that wherever I went, I would always wanted to share my experience, i would show everybody the photos I took and the stories behind the image.

Living on a farm, my family and I never got that much leisure time but when we did it was always spectacular. Just the idea that we schedule the time to be together, to learn together, and experience new things together is what always made it the most memorable. We created a family identity that way but at the same time we also created our own personal identity. Probably because of those few but yet special memorable experiences at museums, zoos, and amusement parks is maybe one of the main reasons why I decided to be a museum studies major.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Museum Visitors September 6, 2010

As I read Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience by John H. Falk it made me realize how much museums rely on their visitors, as Falk stated on page 35 “visitors are the museum and the museum is the visitor”. Falk’s goal is to help change the quality of how museums understand and support the public’s museum visitor experiences. Falk has three questions he believes if museums knew the answer they would gain critical insights into how the public derives value and benefits from museum visits. The three questions are:

1. Who goes to museums?

2. What visitors’ do once they are in the museum?

3. What meaning does visitors make from the experience?

On August 14, 2010 I went on a Bus Trip that was organized by the National First Ladies’ Library (NFLL) one of the places we visited on the trip was Cleveland’s Zoo, to see the Rainforest exhibit. The ladies that accompanied the trip were a majority of older women, senior citizens, and on that day it was hot. It was a typical day for Ohio in August, about ninety-three degrees Fahrenheit. The women were not interested in the zoo or its exhibit. From what I observed they looked at the animals for about 30 seconds then walked onwards. They did not read the labels or observe the animals closely. They had about two hours at the Rainforest but most finished the tour in about an hour. They sat at the cafeteria to wait for the bus, which was to depart to Hudson for lunch.

What meaning did they receive from the visit? Who knows? Who is at fault? The zoo? NFLL? Weather? The question I really want to know is how does a museum “force” (in some way) their visitors to look closely at their exhibits even when their visitors are uncomfortable. How can a museum control something that is uncontrollable? Like the weather? Or age?

Museums that are outdoors like: zoos, botanical gardens, or Colonial Williamsburg how do you create a universal design when a thing like weather does not always fall under your favor. From my experience the simple thing like it being too hot out, was the answer to why the women that day on the bus trip left the Rainforest without receiving any true meaning from the exhibit.