The idea of peer review began after the chair of our education council attended the National Docent Symposium in 1995 and realized that the evaluation of volunteers is happening in many museums. After digging through files from past years, v^^e found that about 10 years ago a task force of docents met a number of times to explore the subject of peer evaluation. After much work and many meetings, this task force abandoned the idea for reasons that are unclear.
With the full support from the education staff, the idea for peer review was recently resurrected. Notes from the previous task force were reworked and updated to fit the current docent programs. They seemed to be full of wonderful approaches to the concept. They were then presented to the education council to try for one year on a voluntary basis. Many docents felt it was a good idea; however, many volunteers were strongly negative. In fact, it seemed to be so hot and divisive that the idea was again abandoned. For that reason, please do not print our names, the name of the museum, or its location used if you publish this note.
More than “Politically Correct”
The appropriate use of language to address or describe people with disabilities is more than just politically correct, it is both sensitive and respectful. In a new text, entitled Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design, Janice Majewski reminds us to evaluate our references.
|People with disabilities||The handicapped, the disabled|
|People who are deaf or hard of hearing||The hearing impaired, deaf-mute|
|People who are blind or have low vision||The blind, the sightless|
|Wheelchair users||Those confined to wheelchairs, the wheelchair bound|
|People with mobility impairments||The crippled, the lame|
|People with cognitive disabilities||The retarded, the mentally deficient|
|People with mental illness||Schizophrenic (as a generic), the insane|
|People with learning disabilities||Dyslexic (as a generic), the retarded|
Should your institution be re-evaluating its educational programming for people with disabilities, consider securing a copy of Part of Your General Public is Disabled, the 93-page manual and 23-minute videotape developed by Janice Majewski, offering practical suggestions on how to effectively assist visitors with disabilities in museums, historic sites, zoo, parks, and gardens. This training package is available for sale through the Smithsonian Institution only The entire package maybe purchased for 180. To order, contact: The Office of the Assistant Secretary for the Arts and Humanities, Arts and Industries Building, Room 1410, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20650, or call (202) 786-2492 (voice) (202) 786-2414 (TDD).
“It Works for Me…Sharing successful techniques, thoughts and ideas.,” The Docent Educator 6.4 (Summer 1997): 11.