Week(s)-in-Review: January 1-20, 2012

The other day, David T. our Web Coordinator called me out on my Week(s)-in-Review. I’ll admit that reflective practice is harder to do when you are covering multiple weeks, but our January started off with a bang, and we’ve been racing around the museum making great things happen. Here are just a few highlights from our first few weeks.

This year we have some amazing partnerships forming after many years of preparing. One that I’m particularly proud of is our deeper connection with Cool Culture, an organization that promotes museum visitation with under served communities. We’re working with Cool Culture on a major project to create a neighborhood network of museum visitation with many families located in Lower Manhattan. To do this, four cultural institutions (The Museum of  Chinese in America, the Children’s Museum of Art, the Museum at Eldridge Street, and the Rubin Museum) are partnering with four Head Start centers in Lower Manhattan. We all met in the first week of January to plan how we would initiative a series of events at each institution and center. Our Family Day (on February 25) is going to be a major event for all of the centers to try and visit, and we’re looking forward to seeing lots of families (and being helped out by 50 Cool Culture Volunteers).


At the Rubin Museum we met in the Education Center, and started to unpack what each of our audiences need and require for great museum experiences. One of our major goals is to empower parents to be the primary catalyst for their child’s learning in a museum so we  spent some time talking about what it means to be a “teacher.”  Two weeks later Aoife and I went to visit our partner Center and had a great planning meeting for a series of six workshops that we will be facilitating to work with parents on visiting museums.  It’s always fun to meet at a kids table, and I loved seeing out flyer for our Family Day in another language, as well as fun student projects (including a red dragon for the upcoming Lunar New Year).


Another pretty amazing thing that happened in the first few weeks of January was this aerial performance by Cirquetacular in our Spiral. This performance recreated a story from the Green Lama, featured in out Hero, Villain, Yeti: Tibet in Comics exhibition.


Also recreating something quite spectacular (and green) were our Auspicious Stitchers group, who completed a year long project, an appliqued thangka of Green Tara, specifically designed for visitors who are partially sighted or blind, but has also been helpful with student groups as well (talk about Universal Access)!


Thinking of universally great experiences, the Education Team had a meeting of minds in our first  meeting of the year to think about how we could think positively about our challenges in the year ahead. One of our greatest challenges is our growing audience and maintaining quality experiences for the visitors in the museum.  Sometimes this can be tricky and lead to some tense staff situations (ever wonder what happens when 4 big groups want to use the same work of art at the same time?!). We spent a lot of time thinking about being optimistic, and seeing what helps to fuel positive behavior so that we can serve all of our audiences in the best way possible.


Another way of fueling optimism is with Nachos! We celebrated our second Nacho New Years to start our year out with some good ol’ Education camaraderie.


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