Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Good Day with the LHS

Not everyday with the LHS is a good day. Some are great. Some are fantastic. And some are...less than fantastic.

But some days are good. Today was one of those days.

When our volunteers started arriving at 10 am, it seemed like any other Wednesday. They put the flags out. One of our volunteer coordinators came upstairs and gave me a lunch she'd brought from home for me. Yummy! We chat shortly about the weather and I watch while one of our volunteers sets up a network between my desktop and our laptop.

Then there is a slight panic. A group of special needs adults has arrived. The group did not call ahead for a group tour and we really aren't prepared with hands-on activities. I tell the volunteers to use some scavenger hunts we have available. After the group leaves I find out that the scavenger hunts weren't able to be used--the group was mostly non-responsive. But they seemed happy to be out and about.

We discuss the challenges of adjusting tours for special needs group with varying abilities of interaction. I mosey back upstairs and continue working on some development things.

The next thing I know, the Museum is abuzz. I come downstairs and there are several groups of people in separate parts of the galleries keeping our docents busily occupied. I learn that one group has a son translating from english to spanish for his mother and father. Another person has just moved into the area and wants to learn more about the community. Another visitor has visited before and volunteers at a local museum himself. They are all excitedly talking and pointing to parts of the exhibit that sparked their interest.

I attempt to flex my spanglish and interact with the family whose son is translating to them. In the basement I explain the use of the wash basin with "como se dice bath?" to the son. I then attempt to explain where ice (hielo or "yellow" as he explains to me) was brought from. The son and I both struggle to find the word for river in spanish, but I get the point across with a wave of the hand and a wooshing sound.

Afterwards, the family makes a purchase in the gift shop. Great for our budget, not so great for my own technical abilities in the shop. (Delawareans always forget sales tax!)

But something even more exciting happens! The mother asks for our open hours--she'd like to bring her other sons back to the Museum.

Satisfied, I eat my yummy lunch upstairs with some of the volunteers. We talk about important things like how to brown meat and how great it is to have visitors come by. As we're chatting in the main gallery another family of four walks in. They look fresh and young and eager to learn all about Laurel history.

I leave my docents to do their work without me intruding.

But I'm very happy because I've finally thought of what I should name the new blog I've been planning: A Good Day with the LHS.

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