Friday, July 2, 2010

First week of tours is a wrap!

To describe the first three weeks as ‘busy’ would be an understatement! We were all eased into the Museum Education life/family on day one with a cookie-filled meet and greet with other staff members, but little did we know what was in store (Note to future interns: There will be leftovers. Take them. They are delicious.). We spent the next four days on a sprint through Student, Family, and Adult Programs training in addition to seemingly endless logistical info: sign in procedures, museum tours, Ryerson Library checkout procedures and the ever-so-secret water fountain closets.

Mock tours during week two were a completely different ball game. After three days of mock touring I felt confident given the feedback I had received from both Museum educators and my fellow interns. The feedback received during my Family Programs Mock tour was particularly helpful. Key points to note:

1. Do NOT use Frans Snyders Still Life with Dead Game, Fruits, and Vegetables in a Market during a Family Tour as it will more than likely include young children (something about dozens of dead animals strewn about a table that does not sit particularly well with the little ones).

2. Do NOT have an anticipatory set of questions for said piece that includes asking children if they have a pet at home and then segue into the piece’s dead animals (the children will connect the dots whether or not you ask them to…)

Frans Snyders, Still Life with Dead Game, Fruits, and Vegetables in a Market 1614

I have however, fallen in love with this piece and I refuse to let it go! I will find a way to fit it into as many tours as possible this summer. Art from Many Places you say? It’s Flemish! ‘Animals in Art’ is what you seek? It has plenty! Even if they’re dead…

At the end of it all however, we were all still standing and anxiously awaiting our first tours the following week. The first tour I gave with Sandy was a Travel and Transformation themed tour under Art From Many Places. It included (surprise!) the Frans Snyders still life. This time however, it was much more appropriate for the age group receiving the tour. Starting off a discussion of the piece by getting students to think about the food they eat and were it comes from I found works particularly well. It places the imagery into context and seems to channel their collective gasps into colorful conversation.

A successful end to our first day of touring could be celebrated only with lunch at the Taste of Chicago! We all arrived with a game plan of stops and a pork-filled plantain dumpling, fried catfish sandwich, and massive rainbow cone later, my hunger was satiated.

Bring on next week!

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