I have been very lucky to have support and mentoring from a number of amazing people over the years. One of them is Claudia Ocello, who I would consider my “museum mentor” (I hope she is ok with that!). She runs Museum Partners Consulting LLC and has been my go-to for questions about everything from museum education to running a small business.
She also gave me my first opportunity to present, like a real grown-up professional, to her museum studies students at Seton Hall University. I look forward every year to going up there and talking with them about how to structure a museum visit for early childhood classes.
This year, we had an interesting challenge. We met at the Pierro Gallery in South Orange to use the show “Thou Art Mom.” Not only did I go through my usual talking points of taking the height of objects into consideration…but we also discussed in depth how to approach nudity in the art and other tricky concepts that young children never fail to notice.
My biggest piece of advice was to always take a walk through the gallery and have some short answers prepared for any “tricky” things that you notice. Also, embrace “I don’t know, I’ll find out” since they will invariably find something you didn’t notice in advance!
If you want some other tips for “sticky situations” you can re-read my “Miss Manners” post from summer camp!