Thursday, July 2, 2009

Invasion of the Junior Docents

Earlier this week I mentioned that we have Junior Docents working in the Museum this summer.

Yesterday was our second day of the Invasion of the Junior Docents and we survived. I have to say, I am learning a LOT from these bright kids!

1) It feels good to really talk history.
Usually when I talk to visitors, I try to gauge how interested they are in the history and base how deeply I discuss Laurel history based on that. Most of the time, I keep it general and broad and delve a little deeper when they seem interested. But usually we don't get down into the nitty gritty stuff.
But with the Junior Docents, I have a captive audience. And I don't have to sit there and lecture to them.
I get to ask them questions. So, why was the River important 350 years ago? Were there many roads? How do you think people got around? It's really fun. I get to watch their minds turn and see them put things together--it's really great.

2) Most kids are more creative than me!
The Junior Docents and I are using a set of materials that the Museum uses to train most of the docents. To make it more interactive and fun, we took the facts in the sheets and illustrated them on a white board.

Here's an example of how they are more creative than me:

We needed to talk about the importance of the Dam in producing water power for the Mill. I drew a block and wrote in the middle of the block "I am a dam". It gets the point across, right?
Well the girls who were working on the drawing with me thought this was hilarious.

After seeing their creations, I can see why. From an abstract drawing of the trip from Wales to the Colonies of Richard Snowden (the original), to the detailed drawing of a burning house, they were MUCH more creative. I can't wait to see what they are going to produce for the videos!

3) With the right people, anything is possible.
Like most things that take place under the auspices of the Laurel Historical Society, we have fairly lofty goals. Earlier this year Monica, our part time assistant, mentioned to me that it would be nice to have the Junior Docents star in a number of short clips about Laurel history. Not only would this allow special needs groups with mobility concerns to see more of the Museum and the surrounding area, but it would be great to put on youtube and on our website. What a GREAT idea!

So off we go trying to organize this. We spoke to Erica Smith of the Laurel Mill Playhouse to discuss script writing. Holly Lilienthal found us a a professional Videographer, Todd Broadwater, who is willing to record and edit our final videos. Maureen Rogers, also from Laurel Mill Playhouse will talk to the JD's about stage presence.

In all honesty, Monica and I know pretty much nothing about putting together short videos. We're doing our best with resources in the community. I hope that with the help of all of these great resources we'll produce a project that is worth the LHS name.

Thankfully we've been blessed with a group of WONDERFUL Junior Docents. Based on what we've done so far--I know they'll help us work through this.

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