Sunday, February 28, 2016

Research News

The Museum is pleased to be part of a new book, “Cognitive Development in Museum Settings: Relating Research and Practice,” edited by Dr. David Sobel, the Museum’s research partner at Brown University, and Dr. Jennifer Jipson of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Each chapter in the book describes a partnership between museum professionals and researchers in cognitive development and the unique research studies taking place within informal learning institutions.

A chapter written by Dr. Sobel and the Museum highlights our National Science Foundation-funded project (award #1223777) to study how children understand their own learning processes and make their thinking visible to others through play at the Museum.

 Learn more about the Museum’s research:

Friday, February 19, 2016

AmeriCorps Alums on Staff

In addition to having a very well-established AmeriCorps program – which just welcomed its 20th team this fall! – Providence Children’s Museum also has an impressive number of AmeriCorps alums on its staff, who shared these stories of their service:

Turenne Bedell, Volunteer & AmeriCorps Coordinator
AmeriCorps Service:
2005-06 Jumpstart; 2009-10 MuseumCorps
 “After a successful term of service with Jumpstart while attending the University of Rhode Island, I looked into joining the PeaceCorps.  Then I realized that there was a great need for service right here and so sought out a second AmeriCorps term in Rhode Island, where I've lived my whole life.  When I was accepted to the Museum’s program, I knew I had an opportunity to dig deeper into service and so served my term as the Volunteer Assistant.  Now, five years later, I'm back home at the Museum, as the Volunteer & AmeriCorps Coordinator – mentoring and supporting the AmeriCorps members whose seats I sat in just years prior!”

Megan Beauregard, Experience Coordinator
AmeriCorps Service:
2011-12 and 2012-13 MuseumCorps
“I started my work at the Museum as a Johnson & Wales work-study student.  After nine months of playing in the Museum's exhibits, I was approached about joining the part-time AmeriCorps team and working with the full-time members at learning centers throughout Providence.  As the summer progressed, I learned how much I loved providing a much-needed service to children and families in need, and my love for the Museum only grew.  That's what inspired me to apply for the full-time team for 2012-13.  As that year was coming to a close, a position for an Experience Coordinator opened up.  I saw this as a sign that my time at the Museum wasn't finished yet, and two years later, I'm still here.”

Megan Fischer, Interim Executive Director/Director of Communications
AmeriCorps Service:
2002-03 City Year
“I moved to Rhode Island from Georgia after college to complete a year of AmeriCorps service.  I ran an after-school program for grades 3 to 5 in Woonsocket, RI, discovered a passion for working with and mentoring kids in need, and was fortunate to have many opportunities to step into a leadership role.  I also discovered the Children's Museum when I organized a special end-of-year field trip and saw how transformative it was for our students – who had many challenges in their lives – to have a chance to play freely and just be kids.  I had an epiphany: I loved museums AND working with children, so why not work at a children's museum?  After finishing AmeriCorps, I got an MA in Museum Studies at Brown University and came to the Children's Museum as an education intern with an interest in museum leadership.  I'm still here nearly 12 years later, have held several different positions in that time, and often reflect on the foundation my AmeriCorps service gave me.”

Front – Mandy Roach, Amanda Howard, Megan Beauregard
Back – Megan Fischer, Turenne Bedell, Robin Meisner
Amanda Howard, Experience Coordinator
AmeriCorps Service:
2009-10 Scholarships for Service; 2013-14 MuseumCorps
“Service has always been a major part of my life.  In college, I had the opportunity to do a part-time year of service with different organizations in and around Providence.  When I was finishing graduate school, I was looking for a job and I saw the posting for Providence Children Museum’s MuseumCorps program.  I really wanted to come back to Providence and I thought that this would be a great opportunity.  For my year of service at the Museum, I got to work with the Head Start centers in Providence, Central Falls, and Pawtucket.  After my year of service ended, I knew that I wanted to stay at the Museum and took a position as an Experience Coordinator.  In my current role, I get to work closely with our AmeriCorps team and mentor them in our exhibits.”

Mandy Roach, Experience Coordinator
AmeriCorps Service: 2012-13 MuseumCorps, 2013-14 OSEEC
 “Throughout grade school, nines times out of ten, the teacher standing in front of the classroom determined not only how well I would perform in that class but if I would enjoy the subject at all.  Those teachers who listened, cared and seamlessly found a way to keep things interesting are the reason I decided to become an educator myself.  Besides a life-long love for doodling, I received my degree in Art Education to pursue the idea of incorporating the creative arts into all fields and allowing students to become interactively engaged.  That's when I discovered Providence Children's Museum’s AmeriCorps program and, after two years of service, my suspicions were confirmed: the traditional classroom was never the place for me!”

Robin Meisner, Director of Exhibits
AmeriCorps Service:
1998-99 MuseumCorps
“I joined the Museum’s AmeriCorps program after graduating from Brown University with a degree in chemistry and a love of working with young children... and what I thought was going to be a singular year of service turned into a career in museum education.  Following my experience on the Museum’s Head Start team, I joined the staff for four years as the Museum’s science educator and developed exhibits and programs and led one of our AmeriCorps teams.  After attending graduate school in London to focus on informal science education, I returned to the museum world and eventually made my way back to Providence.  Having served on the Museum’s second AmeriCorps team and now seeing the 20th, I am truly impressed by how the program has both shaped our community and the Museum itself.”