Our education team is regularly testing new ideas for programs to complement the new exhibit, Saltwater Stories: We need the sea and the sea needs me!
Testing Programs at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History
April 2023: Claire D’Emic (LICM’s STEM Initiatives Program Director) traveled to Washington, D.C. to test a program idea for Saltwater Stories. One of the Saltwater Stories advisors, Patricia Pinto da Silva from NOAA, connected us with the staff at the Museum of Natural History. The concept was to try out an educational program with their audience to see how it worked and to gather some feedback.
Through this experience, Claire was able to gain an understanding of how familiar families were with the concept of storm surge, find out how interested they were in learning about it, and experiment with different ways of engaging families in co-learning. Participants were from all over the United States, including Connecticut, North Carolina, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, all they all had personal connections to the water that helped them to relate to the content.
While the term "storm surge" may have been unfamiliar to families, all of the families were able to understand its meaning. Many families shared experiences about encountering a storm. The activity portion was open-ended in a way that allowed the families to discuss and consider different solutions. Because each family was at their own table, they could operate as their own little unit.
This proved to be a successful workshop, and it will become an activity in the rotation of programs to complement Saltwater Stories.
Maps of Long Island
During the Summer of 2022, we piloted several new workshop options that can complement the Saltwater Stories exhibit.
Haiku and Japanese Koinobori (“carp streamer”)
Friendly paper bag puppets help a visitor identify and then sort different seashells. This might be an activity you do with a volunteer in the Saltwater Stories exhibit. You could sort seashells that you collect at the beach by color, size or texture – anything you choose! Developed Fall 2022.
What We Already Know
Some concepts for Saltwater tie-in workshops are based on our tried and true programs that have been part of LICM for many years.
Trial and Error with Buoyancy
This project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Humanities New York.