My time at the museum these past two weeks has been shorter than normal because of the holiday (July 4th). I spent my time either doing administrative work, researching, or participating in the start of Camp at the museum. Camp at the museum is not typical, and so far I’ve enjoyed it. Rather than a full summer of various activities, you’re given the choice of week-long programs. You can participate in only one or you can do all of the programs, if you’d like.
The program that I was able to assist with and observe was Cartooning. The educator for this was Mike Lynch, who has cartoons published in the Wall Street Journal, Baron’s, Reader’s Digest, and various other mass media outlets. Initially I was underwhelmed by his teaching style, a very basic: give the basics and let them do whatever. However, I found the kids in the group really responded and enjoyed the relaxed approach. During the time that I wasn’t assisting him, Mike allowed me to flip through the various sketchbooks he’d brought with him. Some of them were quick, small things while others were long and drawn out over pages. For the most part I found them humorous, while other times they were sketches of every life. During the breaks, where he had the kids doing activities or finishing up a piece of work, we talked comics and history. I explained to him that I had used Maus, a illustrated novel on the Holocaust, in a class as a textbook. He then talked to me a lot about the author, Art Spiegelman, and how it was his belief that nothing could compare to the work. At the end of the week, we began to set up for an Art Show. We hung up the kids works across the wall in a display of their portfolio, allowing the kids to have their own little museum exhibit.
Besides this, I’ve began to edge out the finer points of my research. This education program is going to focus on the divide in class that grows from urbanization and industrialization, with the introduction of mass immigration during the time period. The last section is going to involve a discussion, and working with primary resources, on the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire as a culmination of the Key Points. I had a meeting with Beth, one of the educators at the museum and the staff member who has been overseeing my internship, and she gave me feedback on my Preliminary notes for the project. She was very helpful with her notes, and has allowed me to determine what I really want to focus on. She also said she likes the way this program is going, and was impressed with my notes.
The administrative work I’ve been completing are the School List (a master list of all the schools that we send information on educational programs to at the beginning of the year), more worksheets for various groups that are touring the museum (adults and children alike, as I’m trying to develop the children’s Eye-Spy further), and doing a variety of mailings for the camp session that the museum puts on.
This is a photograph of Mike Lynch’s work. I didn’t have my phone at the time, so I couldn’t take pictures of anything that happened or of his work or of the kids work. I wish I had, because one of the cartoons was very memorable. One of the kids, in a game called “Who What Where” had picked Abraham Lincoln, Swimming, and Garbage Dump. He drew the President doing exactly that, in his tall hat, while reaching for the 14th Amendment. Lincoln, according to the kid, was trying to save it from being destroyed/crushed like a car at the dump. Prior to drawing the picture the kid asked me if Lincoln had done anything important, like passed any amendments. (He was in fourth or fifth grade, I was willing to let it slide.)