By Alannah MacGregor
Spring Programming is just beginning here at the Museum of Lennox and Addington and I am so excited about the lineup that’s been put together. Our spring season is so jam packed our Digital Content Specialist Liz could barely fit it all in one guide. Luckily she is brilliant and was able to create a fantastic spring program guide you can pick up at the museum.
After planning a whole spring of fun activities for kids, teens, and adults alike I find myself trying to write a blog about it. Sometimes these blogs flow like a river and sometimes they flow like a rock slide; they’ll both make it there in the end but the rocks lack a certain grace during the process. When I sat down to write this blog, a couple different times, I started looking for a commonality among the programs. I was sure excited about them all but that would make for a very short blog. So I kept thinking and though it wasn’t wholly intentional there was a theme that tied all these programs together, it was impact!
The first set of programs I am going to talk about are our Museum Kids and Teen Takeover programs that take place the first Saturday of every month. I took advantage of this spring to highlight the impact of the things we do here at the museum. In April we became history detectives with our Archivist Heather, in May we will be learning about some of the fun aspects of curating a museum with JoAnne, and in June we get to explore creating social media presence based on what’s found in the museum with Liz. The way this relates to impact is really just that I’m proud of what we do here at the museum. People come into the museum every day and I see the profound impact of the exhibits curated by JoAnne. I see how meaningful it is for our archive visitors to find minute details about their families. I see how the work we do here at the museum touches many lives and I really wanted to give kids and teens the opportunity to see the fun parts of our jobs. From corny social media reels to hunting down the missing piece of an archival puzzle, to finding the exact right artifacts for an exhibit. Overall I wanted to highlight all the different ways that the museum employees work behind the scenes to be able to bring those impactful stories to our visitors.
The next set of programs to mention are our Tuesday Night at the Museum events which are lecture style talks about a little bit of everything. On April 11th we learned about the impact women on the home front had on World War I & II, we have another historical talk on June 20th about the impact the fur trade had on music of the period. We also have a talk on the impact people can have in modern times with Carol VandenEngel and Glenn Green; who canoed and portaged across Canada to benefit a local non-profit organization ‘Loving Spoonful’. Imagine canoeing across an entire country! One other Tuesday Night at the Museum I haven’t mentioned yet is taking place April 25th. The museum is welcoming Dr. Shelley Arnott to speak about her work regarding the impact of road salt on aquatic life. This talk in particular captured my imagination. Salt has such an essential role in the how life can or cannot exist; I am so curious to find out some of the ways it impacts something as small as plankton or as large as a fish.
The final programs I wanted to highlight are our PA day programs taking place June 2nd. I absolutely LOVE planning PA day programs. Many of our other programs are themed around exhibits or have to meet certain criteria, but PA days are where I get to just do something fun that inspires me. With all the joy I find in spring I couldn’t wait to do a PA day program outside by the river at Macpherson House, so of course both our kids and teen programs are all about discovering and identifying nature. How does this relate back to impact? It goes back to my first year of university majoring in Zoology, I was required to take BIOL 1070 Discovering Biodiversity. Now this course was enlightening in many ways but one way that stood out was how they taught us to identify plants and animals using what’s called a dichotomous key. Essentially a dichotomous key is a series of questions you answer to find out what an organism is; a simple example is would be ‘does it have 6 legs or 8 legs?’ if it has 6 legs it’s likely an insect and would guide you with further questions to narrow down what kind of insect. Learning about this tool and being able to figure out what the name of an organism was simply and purely amazing to me. Even something like learning how to identify the different maple trees in my own backyard broadened my whole view of exactly how much biodiversity is in the world around us. The natural world is huge and my goal with this PA day program is to give kids and teens the opportunity to feel that wonder of how big and diverse the natural world really is.
All in all I think the impact of the spring programs here at the Museum of Lennox and Addington will be a good one. These programs show us examples of the impact we can have just doing our jobs, the impact we can have on the hope and prosperity of our communities, and the impact that understanding our own planet can have on us. I’ve talked to a lot of people about programming and the message I keep getting is that not every program is going to connect with every person, however if the program you design impacts just one person, creates an interest, or sparks an idea then the program was a success. So that’s what I’m working towards with each and every program