Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Chartering New Territory Using the Theory of Flight

For over two decades, the Alberta Aviation Museum (AAM)’s most popular program has been Theory of Flight (TOF). It’s the museum’s longest running and only formal education program based on the Alberta Grade 6 curriculum. It was originally developed and continues to be largely facilitated by volunteers. The program has grown so much in popularity that most years it has been booked solid. Its success is evident by the number of visiting youth and young adults who remember and mention their TOF field trip. 

Despite the program’s continuing success, a major update was long overdue. While there were attempts to update TOF, including the addition of flight simulators two years ago, mixed reviews for the simulators made it clear that we couldn’t continue to make only minor updates to TOF. We needed to completely rethink our education program.

There were several factors that made the existing TOF program unsustainable, as it did not meet all teachers’ needs and was difficult to facilitate. The existing program was too densely packed with content that was specific to only a few units of one grade level. It was also too long, and lecture-based.

Our goals for the redevelopment were to make the program:
  • Interactive;
  • Flexible to better meet the needs of individual classes;
  • More diverse in curriculum content; and 
  • Structured to expand for more grades.

Monday, 14 September 2020

Opening the Petals of the Museum without Boundaries

Ahead of Conference 2020, Keynote Speaker Andy Lowe sat down virtually with Meaghan Patterson, Executive Director / CEO of the AMA, for a conversation about ‘Museums without Boundaries’ and the big ideas transforming and guiding the work around cultural sustainability at Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and Heritage in Aotearoa (New Zealand).
The interview below has been adapted from their conversation. You can watch the video interview here. Read more about Andy’s Keynote Presentation here.

Kia ora, Andy, and thank you so much for joining us here today. I know that the pandemic situation has been evolving lately in New Zealand, and we appreciate that you’ve taken the time out of your day to have this conversation with us.

What I’d really like to talk about first is your work and your leadership at Te Manawa, and how you have truly embraced transformation at the museum, which I think has strengthened both your institution as well as the community in which you reside. Are you able to give us a bit of an overview of your concept of museum without boundaries, or beyond boundaries, and how that drives the work of your team?

Kia ora. Well, it’s about inviting the community in and breaking down the museum wall, and really thinking about who feels comfortable here and asking if people want to be part of things. Museum without boundaries is about partnering with communities, thought leaders, change makers, and supporters to inspire and broker deeper connections between them and our world’s tangible and intangible treasures so that they, and we, can deliver and create relevant, engaging programs and experiences with, by, and for our communities.

It’s a long way of saying that it’s about opening up space for people to represent themselves the way they want to be represented and to be useful.