Will be speaking on a panel at American Alliance of Museum’s Annual Meeting and Conference in New Orleans. Hope to see you there!
Co-wrote a chapter with Jane Eliasof of the Montclair History Center in the book Reimagining Historic House Museums, edited by Max van Balgooy and Kenneth C. Turino, soon to be published by Rowman & Littlefield, featuring work done transforming the interpretation of Montclair History Center. You can pre-order your copy now.
Ironbound Community Corporation celebrates their 50th anniversary with an exhibition about their history curated by MPC. It’s now on view at The Newark Public Library.
If you traveled on United Airlines and saw the cover of their magazine Hemispheres in March 2019, that was indeed MPC’s exhibition, Old School, at The Newark Public Library on the cover.
I’ve written a chapter in a new book that’s just come out. The Care and Keeping of Museum Professionals edited by Sarah C. Erdman, with illustrations by Shaelyn Amaio. Order your copy now.
Didn’t get to see Bethel AME Church’s exhibition at Morristown & Morris Township Library? It’s now on view at Morris County Library.
Bethel AME Church exhibition is open! Although it’s now a larger story about race relations in Morris County and NJ spanning 1688-2018 at the Morristown & Morris Township Library.
Co-curated exhibition at the Pierro Gallery in honor of a colleague who passed away in 2017. Read more about the exhibition Carved, Painted, Stitched: The Folk Art Collection of Barbara Cate.
Working on exhibition about 175th anniversary of Bethel AME Church, Morristown, as viewed through lens of race relations in NJ. Church was vandalized recently – although not deemed a bias incident, our work is still timely to engage and empower the community in understanding shared history.
Speaking at NYCMER program, “Career Growth in Museum Education” on 11/27/2017; it’s being recorded, stay tuned for the link.
Guest blogpost co-authored with Sarah Erdman, Dawn Salerno, and Marieke Van Damme for American Alliance of Museums’ Alliance Labs Blog in September 2017
Exhibit reviews from Exhibition magazine, Spring 2017 (PDF)
History News article about Montclair History Center, Winter 2017 (PDF)
Guest blogpost about Museums and Curriculum Standards on Museum Questions blog August 2016
More on the Montclair History Center’s Many Voices exhibition/project, 2014-2015:
- Montclair Times article (jpg)
- TapInto Montclair’s coverage of the re-opening.
- Read more about the research and development process and how the site interpretation changed in Claudia’s guest blogpost.
- Stephen Baker, a blogger who visited The Montclair Historical Society, draws a comparison of the new exhibition and interpretation in the Crane House to the Tenement Museum in NYC in his blogpost in May 2015.
- The New York Times also wrote about the Crane House reinterpretation and exhibition.
- While the project was in process, hear Claudia talking about the exhibition – and other museum topics – on Humanities Connection, a radio program sponsored by The NJ Council for the Humanities.
More on Jersey Rocks: A History of Rock & Roll in the Garden State exhibition, 2011:
Article on InsideNPS.gov about staff training workshops for the National Park Service, June 28, 2010:
GATEWAY NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
Seasonals Learn the Art of Putting Visitors First
On June 21-24, 16 summer seasonal interpreters for Gateway National Recreation Area learned the importance of listening to visitors. They practiced telling stories not only with words but also with objects, photographs, open-ended questions and hands-on activities.
To learn about Gateway’s diverse resources, seasonals toured all three units. They seined at Great Kills Park on Staten Island; toured Battery Potter at Sandy Hook and explored the Wildlife Refuge at Jamaica Bay. Being together for four days allowed seasonals to get to know each other as well so that they can help each other throughout the season.
For C.J. Gutch, starting his third season with Gateway, the training “captured a lot of what I’ve observed firsthand at Sandy Hook. As a result of this training, I feel our division is now better equipped to interact with the public and communicate why each of our parks is so special. Additionally, it was a pleasure getting to know my counterparts from the New York units.”
“I have trained college students for summer employment in the NPS for fifteen years,” said Interpretive Specialist Charles Markis, who organized the four days. “This is one of the best groups I have worked with. They have backgrounds ranging from natural resources and cultural history to community planning, and all display a wonderful zest for learning to be Park Rangers.”
The four-day training emphasized that interpretation involves as much listening as speaking. Summer visitors frequently meet seasonal interpreters face-to-face. To encourage stewardship, interpreters must connect a visitor’s life and interests directly to the park’s stories. “It’s always exciting to talk about what you’re interested in,” said Claudia Ocello of Museum Partners Consulting, LLC, who participated in the training. “But we need to think about a visitor’s motivations for coming to our site. The visitor needs to come first.”
Ocello encouraged staff to think about the variety of reasons visitors come to parks and museums. Theorist John Falk has identified five categories of museum visitors: explorers, facilitators, rechargers, hobbyists and experience seekers. While hobbyists want to know every detail of an aircraft at Hangar B, a recharger may want to be left alone to reflect. Facilitators might come to for the good of a child, or to entertain an out-of-town friend. Beachgoers may stop to look through a spotting scope to see a nesting site, but their main priority is the beach.
Seasonals also learned about learning theories, such as Howard Gardner’s theory of “multiple intelligences.” Simply stated, it means that people learn in a variety of ways. Therefore, rangers need multiple strategies to engage visitors. Some people prefer the traditional ranger talk. Others need to touch objects and examine photos, while musically-inclined learners may respond to the sounds of bird calls. Kinesthetic learners need to move; interpreters can lead a group in imitating the “broken wing” walk of the piping plover or by leading a march at Battery Weed.
Thomas Bunyan, a seasonal working on Staten Island, stated, “The week of training gave me new perspectives on engaging audiences by various methods used in identifying and catering to visitors needs.”
Name: John Harlan Warren
Phone Number: 718-354-4608