Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Future of Education Road Trip Begins!


Hi, Nicole here! We are excited to begin this new year with a new project at CFM. My colleague, Sage Morgan-Hubbard (Ford W. Bell Fellow in Museums and P-12 Education) and I are preparing to start the first leg of the Future of Education Road Trip—in the Southeastern US. Our trip kicks off in Washington DC this Saturday, January 7. We’ll be heading first to Raleigh, NC then to Charlotte, NC and will conclude our trip in New Orleans, LA on January 20. The primary purpose of this road-trip is to think locally with educators, museum professionals, students, artists, and community leaders about how they are envisioning—and creating--the future of education. In doing so, we also seek to engage the field around their visions for how museum work will change and to highlight the innovations that Southeastern museums are making around labor practices.

We will be hosting round-table discussions along the way in Charleston, SC and New Orleans, LA to involve the broadest audience possible in exploring these connections. Be sure to follow Sage (@Museumsp12) and me (@nicotron3000) on Twitter for more details about these meet-ups and for updates from the road in real-time (We make no promises that there won’t be car karaoke)! As museum professionals, Sage and I are both deeply interested in the connections communities make between teaching, learning, and the power of their local stories. Also, follow us on Twitter and Facebook at #AAMroadtrip and share your thoughts, questions, and recommendations of must-see things to see and do and eat!

Our Itinerary

Southern states are large, and broad, and storied. We cannot possibly capture the diversity of the Southeast in one fell swoop. Our travel plans are necessarily limited by our own capacity as drivers and by the sheer amount of time it takes to travel across the region. With that in mind, we’ve put together a travel plan that brings us to major cities and smaller towns that also maps onto histories of African-American migration and civil rights activism. We will be on the road as many museums across the country are gearing up for celebrations of the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. For many of the places we’ll visit, these busy King Day events will roll into February programming around Black History Month. Sage and I and our collaborators have kept this top-of-mind as we developed our itinerary:


Map of Our Road Trip


Raleigh, NC
Charlotte, NC
Florence, SC
Marion, SC
Charleston, SC
Atlanta, GA
Montgomery, AL
Birmingham, AL
Memphis, TN
Jackson, MS
New Orleans, LA









A Collaborative Effort

This roster of stops on our trip was made possible with the help of so many people who modeled this traveling work for us—and who offered their on-the-ground connections and expertise so generously to us. Many of you reached out to us via phone, social media, and email to invite us to your cities. And the invitations are still coming! For this, we are deeply grateful and honored. Today, we want to highlight a few of the collaborators who each gave us a different perspective around labor, education, civil rights and social justice as we prepared for this trip.  Dr. fari nzinga, Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, and Porchia Moore of New Orleans, Raleigh-Durham, and Columbia, SC, respectively, each helped shape our thinking on museums, public engagement and art as social practice. We learned, too, from Mia Henry, Executive Director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College, whose FreedomLifted initiative hosts personalized, affordable Civil RIghts tours, with particular focus on Alabama and Mississippi.

Dr. fari nzinga, cultural anthropologist, American Council of Learned Societies Public Fellowship alum, and professor at the Southern University of New Orleans (SUNO), worked with us to  develop a round-table in New Orleans exploring the future of museum, work, and public engagement. She reminded us of the links between academia, public practice, and museum accessibility. Porchia Moore, curator, information specialist, and co-founder of the Visitors of Color Project, has been profoundly generous in her thinking and in helping us organize the Charleston round-table. Among the many things we learned from her, I am especially grateful for the lesson that individual museums make sometimes-competing claims as they work to tell the local stories. She reminds us that tracing histories through objects is a process that calls for debate and listening. Dr. Alexis Gumbs’s Mobile Homecoming Project remains a model. She and her partner, Julia Sangodare Wallace, created an intentionally intergenerational space as they interviewed queer black elders throughout the country. From Dr. Gumbs, we learned the value of personalized experience in a road trip such as this. She stressed the importance of developing rituals of self-care and of practicing intentionality in everything we do—from how we communicate to people to how we take notes and document and give back to our participants.

The Questions

Sage and I developed a list of several questions that we’ll be asking interviewees along the way. They are:


  • What trends do you see in (museum) education?
  • What is your vision for the future of education?
  • What would an ideal museum-school partnership look like?
  • What is a best practice or thing that you are most proud of within your work within education that you want to share?
  • What is one challenge that you see within (museum) education that you would like to see improved?
  • What trends do you see in the nature of work (or in the museum workforce)?
  • What do you want people to know about your vision for the future of work? What does the future of labor look like to you?
  • What do you wish the rest of the country knew about work in your city, state, or region?

What questions would you like to ask of museum professionals in the Southeast? What questions do you have for us? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us your ideas. Find updates on our progress and perhaps a bit of poetry on-the-road on social media at #AAMroadtrip!




7 comments:

Unknown said...

I encourage you to contact the Lower Ninth Ward Living Museum (http://l9livingmuseum.org/) for a unique perspective of a museum surviving and re-growing their community after devastating loss.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
daniel johnson said...

Great to hear you are traveling through Jackson, MS! I am the Director of Engagement and Learning at the Mississippi Museum of Art and would appreciate being able to be part of any convening you are taking part in here in Jackson. I am a socially engaged artist with a background in community organizing (land use, material culture, nontraditional governance, and food) and we as a Museum have really thrown ourselves into a number of experiments around community voice and learning. If you are free or I can join you in exploring other parts of our city, please contact me at djohnson@msmuseumart.org. I'll also try to be at the roundtable in New Orleans.

Sarah Jencks said...

I'm excited to follow your adventures! Will you be including educators, youth and parents/guardians in your roundtables? I am really interested in learning about the wishes and needs of our intended P-12 audiences as much as from other museum educators.

Kathy Dumlao said...

I was so excited to see this blog post today! What an amazing trip you have planned. I wish we could all join you! I am the Director of Education and Interpretation at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and would love to meet with you or be a part of your stop in Memphis. If time in your full schedule allows, please feel free to contact me at kathy.dumlao@brooksmuseum.org. The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is participating in the AAM/IMLS Museum Assessment Program (for community engagement) this year, so we're doing a lot of thinking (and rethinking) about our education and public programs and how to best engage our diverse community.

Nicole Ivy said...

Thank you all for your encouraging comments!! We are honored and excited about this work. We will certainly keep the Lower Ninth Ward Living Museum on our radar.

Daniel Johnson, thank you for such a generous invitation. Sage and I will follow up off-message to set something up! Sarah Jencks, we're keeping the round-tables very open and welcome all interested. We share your interest in learning from classroom teachers, educators of all kinds, and youth. Thanks, Kathy Dumlao, for your invitation. I would likewise love to connect off-line. Please look out for an email from us soon!

Here. We. GO!

Bryan Alexander said...

What a great idea for a trip. Enjoy! Those of us working on the future of education would love to hear what you learn.