When I started Cabinet of Curiosities, offering programs for kids was a no-brainer. I had so much fun teaching preschool and doing education programs in museums and I couldn’t imagine leaving that behind. What I didn’t realize is that I would also get hooked on doing programs for adults and find them just as satisfying as working with kids!
My first attempts at teaching adults came through the conference sessions I ran. I was super confident in what I had to say, but not in how it was going to be received. I really didn’t know what to expect and went in with way too much material, just in case. Well OK, to be honest it was in case they seemed bored or like they didn’t believe I knew what I was doing! I think initially I was more nervous then when I faced down a room full of toddlers!
Within the first few minutes of my first session I saw the heads nodding and the eyes sparking with ideas and I just started talking a mile-a-minute and getting more and more excited. Seeing that lightbulb moment in a teacher’s face is just as exciting as seeing it in a preschoolers. I love listening as they walk out of the room at the end of the session. If there are teaching teams in it together they are usually planning and tweaking and thinking what they can put into practice right away. Sometimes they just seem pleased that the things they were doing already have a supporter or that they have some time to stop and sort out their ideas.
Museum professionals are not immune from this excitement either. When you are rushing around all day with “other duties as assigned” having an hour where you get to step back and think about a new topic can be, frankly, re-energizing. If it is a topic that you aren’t familiar with (like, say, working with young children) then having someone in to talk you through it can make you realize what resources you already have and make you feel like you have a path forward.
Sometimes, bringing in an outside person can be a great way to take the pressure off the staff. They aren’t having to “perform” for a boss or be in charge of telling their colleagues what the new expectations are. Also, someone outside of the museum or school culture can spark a new discussion or present ideas in a different way.
At Cabinet of Curiosities, booking a workshop or training for adults is just like planning one for kids. You can even do it as a follow-up to a student program or dovetail it with something for the parents. We work together to create something that fits your budget, is a topic you want to explore and works within your schedule. Even if you aren’t sure what you want to offer, just write me an email. We can talk through ideas and logistics and make it work for you.