In fall 2009, I had a two-day-per-week internship paired with a weekly seminar on learning theory, as well as two other courses: Museum Audiences and American Folklife.
The internship consisted of spending 16 hours a week immersing myself in a classroom of second and third graders, many with special needs. I did not just observe and take notes (though I did take a lot of notes), but also helped lead activities. The semester culminated in a three-part lesson I planned and carried out, including a field trip to the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Students in the class looked at, posed like, and talked about works of folk art, and they made their own art back in the classroom. I also accompanied the class on a field trip to the Ripley Center to see a Discovery Theater show, and I tagged along to observe my classmates’ field trip projects at the Newseum and the Torpedo Factory.
My Museum Audiences class took a field trip to Rock Creek Park and its Nature Center, where we spent time both inside and outside exploring the facilities with a focus on accessibility for visitors with disabilities. It was here that I met Pokey the turtle, in addition to watching a movie, looking at exhibits, and walking the trails enveloped in fall foliage.
For my American Folklife term paper, I wrote about Nativity scenes in American folk art. My research took me to the campus library and the Library of Congress to read print sources, and to the Washington National Cathedral and the Mormon Temple Visitors’ Center to see exhibits of creches. (Being a holiday lover, I had made sure to choose a topic that would have me spending December finishing a Christmas-related term paper!)
July’s blog theme is Studying Museums.