Tuesday, February 8, 2011

SMA Book Club - Mary Alexander

I’m looking forward to talking about Connecting Kids to History with Museum Exhibitions in a couple of weeks at the SMA conference. I’ve been in several book clubs, but never one with a “professional” focus. This is a first for me and for SMA, too. Hope you are reading along and will join Lindsey Baker and me for our conversation. Here are some thoughts to mull over. If you want to start the discussion now, let us hear from you.

There’s lots to like about this book, and therefore, I hope lots to discuss. One element that has resonated with me is that several of the authors talk about kids and their imaginations suggesting that the very process of creating history is like that of kids imagining things —- dinosaurs and princesses are mentioned. I’d not thought about young kids having great imaginations that perhaps in our museum settings we should seek to channel rather than stifle. Do we spend too much time trying to give out “accurate” information rather than allowing for the messy process of history that would actually engage younger visitors? There’s a mention at the volume’s start of “inviting children in” and I wonder if we think that way enough or even at all. How would you describe how you “welcome” children in to your exhibits?

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