Teachable Moments: the good, the bad, and the undergrads

TitleTeachable Moments: the good, the bad, and the undergrads
Publication TypePresentation
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsNicholas, Kirsten E., and Riedel Angela
KeywordsSmall Collections Symposium SPNHC 2014
AbstractWe have a strong Museum Studies Undergraduate Minor program at Central Michigan University for which our museum is a living laboratory. We employ an average of ten undergraduate assistants in our museum every year and work with up to 30 additional volunteers each year (many of whom are in the minors program). Students are trained in all aspects of collections care (including taxidermy and collections digitization; we are working to get our collections fully uploaded to the web) for a wide variety of collections types, in developing and delivering educational programs and activities, in conducting background research for exhibits (as well as developing, constructing, and installing exhibits and displays that incorporate learning benchmarks for target K-12 student audiences), writing grants, and conducting original research. We successfully mentor these students and place them in jobs in the field, and have found that the relationships we establish with them are meaningful, strong, and replete with “teachable moments” ranging from the very positive to the truly challenging. In this presentation I review our program and discuss lessons learned by them and us in the process of mentoring them from zero to state of the art in the museum field.