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NAEA Museum Education Division Business Meeting No. 2

A second business meeting for the Museum Education Division was held Friday night, led by Lesley Wellman and Anne Manning. Fourteen division members attended. Note: remember to look for these sessions under a new name next year: “Conversations with Colleagues.” The conversation began with a quick recap of business meeting #1 and a few additional ideas for next year’s 2011 preconference in Seattle:

Is the Seattle Art Museum wireless? Could we get iPads, Flipcams, and voice recorders for the preconference? Museum division members split into teams and workshop in the galleries to produce content using technology. Let’s tinker with the tech! These ideas reflect thoughts presented during the Issues Forum Friday. Learning the technology applications are one thing. IMAGINING HOW THEY CAN BE USED IS ANOTHER THING. We can focus on the content aspects during such a preconference session. Jenn Wilson at SAM is in the Education department currently, but was hired for technology. She might be a great resource. Gamers presentation in the General Session today was fantastic. Maybe we should bring them back: Alan Gershfeld, Chairman of Games for Change. How can we wrap in ideas from the MacArthur Foundation? Also check out the MacArthur Foundation’s recent publication: “Confronting the Challenges of a Participatory Culture.” The foundation might fund something for the preconference. Consider YouMedia at the Chicago Public Library. This could be a great model for museums. The Seattle Public Library and the EMP are also possible resources. How much is technology driving studies of creativity? Can we explore connections between fields? The design field is another area to consider. What can we learn from professionals in this area? Scholastic Art Awards recently put gaming in as a new category. Roger Shimomura would be a great speaker We have a connection to a computer engineering professor at the University of Washington who focuses on gaming. Susie Watts and Beverly Beuhler would be great contacts in the city. They have tons of data about arts education and have been training teachers for years through Arts Impact, and have received numerous grants for their programming.

Great discussions centered around ideas for 2011 Issues Forums. If you don’t recall what these are, Issues Forums are two-hour sessions that often include multiple panelists presenting perspectives or case studies on one topic. They can also be very interactive and conversational sessions where members are invited to address deep questions in our field. Before getting to several suggested topics for the 2011 Issues Forums, I want to let everyone know the development process for Issues Forums. Jeanne Hoel, MOCA Los Angeles Educator and Director of the Pacific Museum Education Division, heads up the process with a goal for eliciting collaboration between division members. First, Jeanne sets up a blog and invites museum educators to submit hot button issues. You can look for this invitation soon following the 2010 conference. The invitation will go out via the NAEA and Museum-Ed list serves. Remember, proposals for 2011 will be due this June! Once a pool of ideas has been gathered on the blog, the NAEA Museum Education development board looks for the 4-5 big issues that seem to be surfacing. Members are again invited to submit specific ideas/perspectives on the 4-5 selected topics, and Jeanne and colleagues on the board begin to put members together. When setting up Issues Forums, they look for diversity in museum sizes, experience levels of participating educators, and varied ideas about the topics. A NEW idea for the next year was presented during the meeting. Perhaps we have Museum Division members submit a request to apply. This process might encourage more participation and thoughtful submissions related to topics, and it also formalizes the Issues Forum process. Members suggested that we look to the AAM EdCom process for additional ideas. It is our hope that Issues Forums are provocative, interactive, present multiple voices or allow many voices to be heard, encourage interaction between members, and have varied formats, depending on the focused topic.

So what Issues Forum topics are on the minds of Museum Educators? Here we go… Environmentalism – we’re in Seattle next year and it’s a very eco-conscious city. Let’s talk about environmentalism in our museums. How are we addressing these issues? Universities and Museums – this session would involve great collaboration across divisions. Pre-service teacher training is a hot topic. How are universities and museums working together for this training. Medical school/museum collaborations are also growing in number and would make for interesting discussions. Research – it’s really important to keep this conversation going and act on it! Let’s push to have articles coming out of these conversations. This session would relate to the Issues Forum occurring Saturday (this year) on developing a research agenda. It would also connect to Melody Milbrandt’s session from last year. Did anything come out of her session? Afterschool Programming – many museums are realizing how difficult it is to work with schools in the present day, even if you have money. Many museums are moving to a focus on afterschool programming. The Wolfsonian has made this move. Dallas has lots of afterschool activity in relationship to the Thriving Minds organization. Teaching to the Curriculum vs. Free-Choice Learning – putting together opposing topics could be very provocative, especially if you have presenters who are debating the topics. The teaching to curriculum/free-choice topic is HOT for museum educators and would make for a strong relevant topic, related to how we design our programs, resources, and training. This session would also be a great follow up to the super session held on Friday this year that looked at the crossroads of policy, research, and practice with particular focus on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). F. Robert Sabol, NAEA President-Elect recently completed a research study on the impact of NCLB on arts education. Released by NAEA, you can find the executive summary at Lesley Wellman participated in this session, representing the Museum Education Division and shared insights about the impact of NCLB on Art Museum Education. If you missed the session, look for a follow up in Lesley’s column in the upcoming NAEA newsletter. Changing Trends in Training Docents, Volunteers, and Teaching Artists – there were many sessions about this topic at NAEA this year. Unfortunately, many of them were scheduled at the same time. Is it possible to form a sub-group of members with interest in this area, or consider it as an Issues Forum topic next year?

Museum Resource Exchange – annually the resource exchange takes up one of our Issues Forum two-hour time slots. This year, the event was generally successful and most participants enjoyed it. However, we did feel a bit removed from the rest of the conference. There are lots of ideas for how to rethink the Museum Resource Exchange. Could we move the exchange to the Exhibit Hall? Perhaps NAEA would waive the fee for us if we are providing teachers with resource information and free stuff? We could schedule educators from various museums to do 2-hour shifts in the booth interacting with teachers. The responsibility of the educators would include promoting their own institution’s materials but ALSO promoting the work of their colleagues and letting teachers know about the resources and weblinks available on the NAEA Web site. If the Exhibit Hall was not an option, perhaps we could have a table or presence near the bookstore in the main thoroughfare of the registration area. Again, museum educators could take shifts to oversee the area and we could print a schedule of times in the conference schedule book. If we do pursue alternative venues for the Resource Exchange, perhaps we could open up that two-hour session to more 50-minute sessions. In addition, member suggested we have tables of resources available at the Elementary, Middle, and Secondary awards luncheons.

Integration of Education Departments – this topic was proposed as a way to hear about all of the great things happening in Museums where the Education department is more fully integrated into larger institutional planning and projects.

Looking ahead to 2011 in Seattle, it was noted that the session is one-day shorter. It will run March 17 – 20. This is one change implemented under the leadership of NAEA Director Deborah Reeve. She’s making great strides for us and knows how to leverage conference options since we are such a HUGE conference. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for WiFi in the years to come : ). Comments welcome everyone!

– Nicole Stutzman Dallas Museum of Art Educator and Western Division Director

Archived Comments:

  1. Willamarie Moore Says:
    April 22nd, 2010 at 3:58 pm Thank you for these VERY newsy and thorough notes, from both business meetings, Nicole! A lot of work–it’s much appreciated!

    I absolutely LOVE the idea of using iPads, flipcams, etc. at the Museum Division Pre-conference next year, to produce content right then and there. As a member of this year’s Tech Mob, I must say from first-hand experience, there’s no better way to learn how to use technology, than to USE it! Let’s dive right in — how can we really make this happen?

    Please count me in for helping out with this initiative!