Archive for the ‘ Taylor Thoughts ’ Category
The Economics of Happiness
Recently, I read an article by Steve Faktor, CEO of IdeaFaktory, called The Economics of Happiness. He makes some great points about our culture and why some of us aren’t as happy as we could be. With the amount of literature out there about how to find happiness, you would think we’d all be skipping and singing everywhere we go. We spend so much time and money on finding purpose, that we forget that we hold the power to our happiness (which is defined differently by everyone). (more…)
Last week I was in Oklahoma. The reason for going was personal, but I visited a couple of museums and since I am no longer able to see through the eyes of an everyday visitor anymore, the line gets fuzzy where work begins and ends. It’s a blessing and a curse.
At one particular museum, I had the privilege of meeting with the head of exhibits. As we walked around all the galleries, he pointed out barriers which had to be installed because visitors were known to climb on the dinosaurs and other animals!
There was even a buffalo in one exhibit which had an obvious barrier, but visitors would climb up the side then trample over the grasses and smaller animals and insects to take photos on or near the buffalo.
To me conduct such as this is mind boggling, especially when it’s the adults encouraging the behavior.
So, in an effort to possibly curtail bad behavior at museums, nature centers, etc., here are some things not to do in an exhibit gallery (or anywhere else for that matter):
- Don’t climb on the exhibits! Just because there’s not a sign telling you not to do something, does not make it OK to do it. Most institutions make it pretty obvious what is touchable and what is not.
- Don’t pick at the graphics! Not all facilities are financially able to replace their graphics or other exhibits routinely. A peeling label or lettering is not an invitation for you or your children to pick at it. My one year old is an expert label peeler. I’m not sure what is so fascinating about peeling something, but he is instantly drawn to those opportunities. I know this, so I proactively watch him and divert his attention elsewhere if there is a peeling opportunity.
- Don’t intentionally try to break an interactive. We have a client in CA who said one of their volunteers witnessed kids hanging on hydraulic flip doors and broke each and every one of them. In this situation, you would have thought the volunteer would have spoken up, but no, he just sat by and watched the damage be done.
I’m sure there are many more stories to be told. What have you witnessed people do in a museum or nature center that you couldn’t believe they did?
With spring supposedly here and summer quickly approaching most outdoor sites, such as refuges and parks, are preparing for their ‘busy season’ while indoor museums may be beginning to feel the lull as the end of the school year approaches, meaning less visiting school groups, teacher led tours etc. So—how can you keep your site relevant year round? By cueing in to the things people desire as the seasons change.
During the spring, people are always geared up to get outside. Use the weather as a springboard to bring people to your site. When possible, bring discussions and debriefings outdoors or integrate special elements into your surrounding space. Consider hosting an outdoor community event such as a scavenger hunt, a cookout, or a potluck.
As the heat of summer sets in, opportunities to cool off are welcomed as well. How about hosting an evening ‘wine and design’ talk, where you can showcase your galleries to adults? Or on a crisp summer evening, maybe the side of your building could become a projection space for an outdoor movie that relates to your site?
And even though school may not be in session, opportunities for learning are always beneficial. Consider connecting up with local camps or putting information about tours or exhibits in a community flyer. Parents are always looking for opportunities to entertain and keep their kids engaged during the summer months.
Maybe traffic slows down at your nature preserve in the winter, how about a scavenger hunt for animal tracks in the snow? A winter walk warmed by hot cocoa and conversation? Or maybe a woodland creature-themed snow sculpture day?
There are many opportunities just waiting to be discovered and adapted to your site. Rather than just accepting your slow season, find a way to embrace the change!
How do you hope to keep your site relevant during the coming seasons?
Last week, I had the pleasure of returning to one of my favorite historic sites in California – Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. It’s located in Coloma, CA, approximately 50 minutes east of Sacramento. Its significance lies in the fact that James Marshall discovered gold here in 1848, beginning the California gold rush. The area is beautiful and full of history so both nature lovers and history buffs can find reasons to visit.
If you’re planning a trip this summer, this area of California is certainly worth considering. Here are just a few reasons which hopefully spark an interest:
- It’s considered one of the most significant historic sites in the country
Location of first gold discovery
- You can hike, picnic, and pan for gold
- There are hundreds of artifacts on display including an 1865 Concord Stagecoach
- You can wander through 20 historic buildings and see a replica of the original sawmill
- The drive from Coloma to Auburn is breathtaking (and a little scary)