See you later, Alligator

My final week at the museum flew by with the camp craziness. I look back on my experience there with happiness for the opportunity and sadness to have to leave! I am unbelievably thankful for this opportunity. I met so many great people at the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum. I thought it was the perfect experience to have as my first internship. Everyone, especially my supervisor, supported my ideas and helped me along the way. I have now decided to continue to pursue the idea of working in management in a museum, as a result. I am not limiting myself to other options- but I really enjoyed this one! I could not have completed this internship without the Dickinson Grant for interns. My commute (although very long some days) helped me to stay at home before I go abroad in a couple weeks. The Dickinson Grant allowed me to do so and enjoy the internship without stressing about finances. I could not have afforded to drive to Erie every day without it.

My education this summer extended further than learning about the daily business in a children’s museum. I also learned my strengths, weaknesses, and a little about what I want to be doing. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the kids each week and being hands on in their experiences there. However, I don’t think I will pursue an education degree or remain in that area of work. I now am realizing I am more interested in the business aspect of the “museum world”. I also learned, I love to be busy! I was excited once I had projects to constantly work on and things to do, which my supervisor made sure I did.

Besides learning to work with students and the daily responsibilities of the museum, I learned much more from the women I worked with. Ainslie, the Executive Director, taught me the power of connections and keeping in touch with colleagues. Ainslie also showed me some different aspects of running fundraising events and marketing a museum. I think she has amazing skills in these areas. Tami, my supervisor, taught me more than I could probably express in a post. She taught me to never take your title too seriously, she was always willing to help everyone no matter the difference in job description. I really admired this in her. She was an amazing leader and role model. Tami also taught me to go with the flow when it comes to working with kids. She gave me new ideas with handling students who may be challenging in the classroom and embracing each unique personality of a child. Each day I worked with her, whether it be in a camp or the classroom, I could see her genuine belief in every student as an artist and explorer. I aspire to be a similar leader and person as her. Not to mention both are super cool and hilarious 🙂

I will certainly be visiting the children’s museum again. This will not be the end of my communication with them, I hope to come back every year and keep in touch through email. I loved my internship this summer, it was more than I could have ever imagined. The tight knit group and size of the museum allowed me to flourish in my experiences and truly participate in all different areas. It was the perfect little place for me.

“Though she be but little, she is fierce!” (Shakespeare)

See you later, Alligator.



Imagination Station Camp

This week we had our last camp of the summer! This camp was called “Imagination Station Camp” the students used their imaginations to explore through each activity. I helped to plan the schedule of the camp, which gave me a fun opportunity to test out day to day activities. On Monday we began by introducing “imagination” and creating our own life-size superheroes. The students traced each other’s outlines on to large paper and then were able to decorate the outlines in any way to make their superhero! They loved the activity and came up with unique ideas. We had superheroes that could teleport, fly, use the power of love, control animals, and many more! I then took the superheroes and “shrunk” them onto regular copy paper. On Tuesday the students created characters by attaching these pictures of their heroes to popsicle sticks. We also began to create their superhero’s story on Tuesday. The students were each given a “Story Bag” that had different items in them. They worked together to create stories of adventure. Following this activity, they made their own comic story by creating drawings in different squares. On Wednesday we took a field trip to the Erie Art Museum which was displaying a comic book exhibit- perfect for our Imagination Campers! Wednesday we also had a visit from the conductor of the Erie Philharmonic. Mr. Meyer taught the students how to conduct a “band” with plastic drinking straws. We incorporated this into the theme by playing superhero theme songs for the students. The rest of the week, even though I am not there, will include activities such as: building a superhero hangout with cardboard and creating a fairy garden. Camp weeks always go by quickly- but I love all of the excitement and curiosity it brings to the students!

Street Soiree

This week was hectic at the museum! On Monday we prepared for the Street Soirée by having a cleaning crew come to the museum. That morning I was given the responsibility to teach a class on my own! It was amazing to be able to run the class. Tami gave me a schedule and we did various activities focused on art in the garden. These included painting with nature, using glue and seeds to spell out our names, and building sculptures with rocks. The students were pre-school aged and were accompanied with their caregiver. The class went by quickly- but I definitely think I learned a lot being able to really run it by myself and having to figure different things out by myself. This is a prime example of why I have loved my internship so much. The museum, and Tami specifically, have given me responsibility and value my input. The museum is also small enough that I am able to actually help and make a difference there. I’m honored to have been able to actually run a class on my own.

I came back to the museum on Friday to help prepare for the Street Soirée on Saturday. Friday I spent a lot of time planning the upcoming camp for the next week. I also helped with various tasks to decorate for the party.

Saturday I arrived at the museum and preparation for the Street Soirée was in full swing! This year was the museum’s first time doing the Street Soirée. It is an adult-only fundraiser event. Guests paid for the entrance fee and then were able to have various hours devours donated by restaurants in the area and drinks from three bars. The street was shut down and tents were set up outside. Any donations, tickets, or purchases of tiles were donated directly to the museum. Saturday afternoon we set up tables, signs, lights, etc for outdoors and then changed to come back that evening. The event took place from 6-10pm. Throughout the night Kendall, the other intern, and I did various tasks to keep the evening running smoothly. We helped clean tables, collect donations, restock, and then tear down at the end of the event. I had a really great time being able to experience this event! It was fun being behind the scenes. I thought it went very well and that the museum did an incredible job. My family attended and loved it! It was an exciting weekend to spend at the museum.

A little bit of everything

Going slightly out of order, but here’s some things I’ve done/am doing:

Franz Spohn, an artist from Edinboro, came to the museum to create a mural. Franz makes gumball murals. He uses sorted gumballs and lots of tubes to insert the gumballs in an order to create an image. We have one of his pieces on our 2nd floor of pictures that students submitted. The upcoming week before the Museum’s Birthday, Tami and I went to the YMCA in downtown Erie to sort the gumballs with the kids. They then came to the museum that following Monday to assemble the gumball mural. Each student got a key, a tube, and a table of gumballs. They would place the gumballs according to color following the key on the tube. We then assembled the piece together and helped Franz place it into the frame in the wall on the first floors. The mural was announced and revealed during the Museum’s Birthday by the Mayor and Ainslie. I have pictures to share!


Franz being silly in front of his gumball mural

This past week there was a summer camp at the museum. This “Creativity Camp” included lots of art activities. Since I was sick on Monday, I was only able to help on Tuesday and Wednesday. I love camps, though! They make the day go by quickly and it’s a blast to get to know the kids individually. The main feature of the camp was to have artists come in every day to teach the kids. We had 18 students overall- a big group! Franz came in on Monday, we did not have an artist for Tuesday, and Ehren Knapp a mural artist came on Wednesday. Ehren had the kids paint individual pictures and then pasted them together to make a larger picture of an airplane. It’s always a busy week when there are summer camps, but it’s so much fun!


Summer camp students


Mural with Ehren Knapp

Catching Up

Haven’t posted in a while- whoops!

After the birthday madness I went straight back to work and then onto vacation. I’ll recap the birthday bash:

The birthday was amazing!! We had over 1,000 guests at the museum. It was packed the entire day. Since the museum was filled with guests we had all staff at the museum and we were all broken up into different groups. I was in charge of “floating” and helping Kendall, the marketing intern, with the different events as well as doing lunch breaks for all staff. During the day we had different performers and events taking place. Outside in the Outdoor Classroom there was a live jazz band called the Dixie Doodlers. They were awesome! They played a mixture of old tunes with newer and Disney themed songs. There was a magician performance (whom I introduced on the stage which was fun!), a balloon guy who was a big hit, face painting all day, puppet shows, crafts, and more! The cake we bought was also a guest favorite and went by quickly. In the morning the mayor proclaimed the day “Hooray for Play Day”. Ainslie, the Executive Director, gave two gifts to lifelong friends of the museum. The Kovacs have been helping the museum since it opened. Bud Kovacs donated tons of different toys to the museum and used to make exhibits for the museum. Now, there is a Kovacs corner in the upstairs with a toy display titled “Toys through Time” that Kendall and I put together. The other gift was given to Miss Loretta. She reads story time to museum guests every Thursday. Miss Loretta is the kindest woman! I’m so happy I have worked a few Thursdays so I could meet her.

These events are sometimes my favorite days at the museum. Although it was a long and busy day, I was excited the whole time and loved to see so many happy faces playing in the museum. I am so thankful to have been able to be an intern this monumental year!


Pre-Birthday Madness

The museum is turning 20 this year!! Tomorrow, Wednesday July 8th, we are throwing the biggest birthday party in town (as the director would say). I have worked with Kendall, the marketing intern, to help with any little tasks she needs and tomorrow I will be working throughout the event. There are different performers scheduled so that there is always something going on around the museum. Some include: musicians, a balloon artist, a magician, face-painting, tons of cake, and more! It is going to be a busy and exciting day. I’m really looking forward to it!! A blog post will be coming soon to recap the event and give my reflections on it as well.

In light of the celebration of the museum tomorrow, I wanted to express how much the place has impacted me. As I child I remember going to the museum and loving it, no I am excited to say I love my internship there as well. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be an intern at the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum and it would not have been possible without the people I am working with, especially Tami and Ainslie. This also would not have been possible without the Dickinson Internship Grant. My commute is typically around an hour there and an hour back each day and I simply could not afford that on my own with an unpaid internship. I am thankful for all these different support systems I have to make this internship possible and enjoyable.

Can’t wait to find out what else the summer will bring!

Checking In

Haven’t blogged in a bit- sorry!

A quick recap of what I’ve been doing since my last blog–

I finished the Outdoor Explorer Backpack kit. I made all of the clues and fine tuned any problems that we had with it. I filled each bag with the contents and worked to make it a functioning exhibit in the museum. The book bags will hopefully be out for the museum to use next week!

I planned the Movin’ and Groovin’ Day Camp with my supervisor, Tami. We bounced ideas off of each other to come up with a schedule for the day camp. Unfortunately, it is on a Friday so I am at my other job that day. However, I’m excited to hear how it all goes and be updated with some pictures as the camp day goes along!

I’ve worked directly in the museum doing various tasks including open studios, cleaning, helping to brainstorm and plan with other staff members, and fixing some broken exhibits or rethinking ones that need to be tweaked.

I dressed up as the museum’s mascot, The Fox!, and went to a Kiwanis meeting to show off the fox costume. This was my first time being a mascot. I have to say I don’t feel like I’ve been missing out on a lot. It was terribly hard to breathe, see, or regulate my body temperature. I also realized half way through that I am slightly claustrophobic. BUT I am happy I got the opportunity to test that out and I can now say that I have done it. This is an example of one of the awesome parts of my internship- I never know what they’ll give me next but I love every new task.


Explore and More

It’s camp week! This week we had ten campers attend the museums “Explore and More Camp”. The camp begun at 8:30 am and ended at 3:30 pm from Monday-Friday. Their ages ranged from 5-9. Having the camp at the museum gave me a different opportunity than what I had been doing before. I got to learn the different personalities of each camper and build friendships with them. Each day’s lesson plans, created by my supervisor Tami, followed a loose theme. Monday was all about chemistry. We mixed different substances, such as oil and water, and experimented with them. On Tuesday we focused on Nature and specifically our outdoor classroom. We spent most of the day outdoors- it was pretty warm and humid! The campers completed the outdoor adventure backpacks I had been working on for the museum. It is a scavenger hunt that takes them throughout the space. They dug for dinosaur bones in the dirt pit. We also gathered materials to make sun catchers using anything from nature and some wax paper. On Wednesday we became detectives. This day was my favorite. It started with an alarming announcement “ATTENTION CAMPERS there has been a dinosaur escape in the outdoor classroom!” to which they found “dinosaur eggs” (which were really baby dinosaurs in a frozen ice cube). We had made them the night before by sticking dinosaurs in water balloons and freezing them. The kids loved this activity though, and kept their new baby dinosaur with them the rest of the day. We continued our activities with a fingerprint lesson, showing them the differences in each person’s fingerprint. We also had a senses activity where they guessed what was in the paper bags. Since I only work Monday through Wednesday I had to say goodbye to them after this day. Tami kept me updated with pictures though, and it looked like they loved camp and had so much fun! This week went by so quickly but I was excited and engaged every day and really loved working with the camp kids.

Pictures to come soon!

Baby Garden and Follow the Leader

This Monday we held two classes at the museum. Classes are for those who pre-registered and are held in the Museum’s classroom downstairs. We had a Tiny Tots Baby Garden (6-24 months with an adult) and a Follow the Leader class (2-5 years old with an adult). During the Baby Garden we focused on the four senses. Babies began by feeling objects in a basket which included: pinecones, rocks, feathers, seashells, sticks, and an apple. They worked on identifying these objects with their guardians and we used descriptive words for their identification such as: soft, smooth, light, heavy, pokey, and so on. We then played with Play Doh and learned to use our objects to make prints in the medium. Songs and dance were infused throughout the class to allow the babies to have time exploring and moving. The final portion of the class we used herbs from the museum’s garden and smelled the different herbs. We then took the kids outside to identify the herbs and play in the new space. In the Follow the Leader class the students focused on listening to directions and taking turns. Their activities included, song and dance, story time, and an obstacle course. The students loved running through the different obstacles. They crawled, spun, jumped, and used a ring toss. We used Legos for them to follow patterns then finished with a goodbye song. These classes were a great experience for me because I got to work with a smaller group of students. The classes were more guided and Tami included me in the different activities. I liked spending enough time with the kids to see their different personalities and watch them learn with hands on experiences. This was definitely a highlight of the internship thus far!