At MTG we deliver education programmes on all sorts of interesting subjects. Just in the past few weeks I have taught about places and events of significance to us here in Hawke’s Bay, about culture and identity and about endangered and extinct animals. This is in addition to our popular ongoing programmes: Treasures of MTG, Living History!, and our Quake 1931 programme, a perennial favourite.
As a school pupil I loved the visits outside the classroom my intermediate school teacher, Patrick Sheehan, now deceased, took us on as part of our inquiry learning. We went to the cruise ship Rangitane, the Auckland Post office, the Auckland Museum, to rest homes to deliver chocolates to the elderly (we even won the crossword prize in a local newspaper which gave us the money to buy the chocolates – I always thought that must have been rigged)! I vividly remember asking dozens of questions, and on our visit to the Rangitane being given a flash ice cream sundae in the dining room of the cruise ship, all indelible memories.
The lasting impact of these experiences has always given me a great faith in this type of learning. As a young teacher I was so enthusiastic to get my class to the Auckland Museum I arrived an hour before opening! The class didn’t mind tumbling horizontally down the hills surrounding the Museum while I apologized to the understanding parents for getting the time wrong!
Now as a museum educator myself I love to read the letters and quirky drawings we receive from children who have attended one of our programmes. They can be full of superlatives and personal compliments. Here are a couple of recent letters I particularly enjoyed.
From a teenage visitor: “As they say first impressions count and mine of yours was that you were polite, cheerful and happy doing what you do. That you didn’t wake up in the morning because you have to get to work you get up because you look forward to broadening peoples perspectives on the wider community and that you want to teach others so that they are aware that they have a way to make a difference in this world and that is what you did to the girls that passed through your doors.”
From a younger student: “ I truly enjoyed doing all the activities, and looking at the exhibits, as it was my first time at this Museum.” Her drawing of making a badge to take home is above. The parent is the headless one!