Today’s museums and historic sites are more than places to preserve the artifacts and memories of the past. They are the new town square, where the diverse members of the community can come together, and consider issues against the backdrop of their history.
I have 10 years’ experience designing and implementing a curriculum of experiential school programs for students K-12. Whether it was transporting first graders back to the sights, sounds and smells of an 18th century Dutch farmhouse, immersing fourth graders for a day in a one room schoolhouse, leading students to explore the inner-workings of the Red Mill and Quarry operation, or coordinating dynamic STEM tours for middle school students at the National Museum of Industrial History, I have provided the youth of today with the tools they need to learn from the past and to help them solve the complex problem of building a better tomorrow.
My exhibit design philosophy is to develop interactive exhibits that connect visitors to stories and allow them to learn through play. For instance, at the National Museum of Industrial History, the kinetic stations allows visitors of any age to explore the scientific principles of how machines work. Through audio stations, visitors experience a range of historic voices, learning about industrial history's progress and prejudice from multiple perspectives. Interactive map tables allow visitors to discover the global reach of industry: where the labor force comes from, natural resources were mined, and products were sent.
In many ways fundraising is the biggest challenge museums and historic sites face today. The competition for public and private funding is fierce.
Raising the funds is only half the battle. Benefactors want tangible results and powerful narratives to showcase the impact of their donations. We must build into every campaign both the goals we hope to achieve and the metrics by which we can measure our success.