President/CEO Mary Frances Turner and Content Specialist/Collections Expert Holly Jansen will be in town all next week to pick the brains of local historians, teachers, Depot Board members and citizens.
A hands-on research trip seems befitting of Turner’s personal motto: The cure to boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
“We are hoping to hold several meetings during the week to gather ideas for the displays,” said Turner. “Some of the sessions will be very topically focused. For example, when we speak to educators, we want to hear what their needs are and how their children learn.
“We always get such great ideas from teachers.”
Different states have different standards when it comes to curriculum. According to Turner, understanding and utilizing those standards can help make a museum more valuable as an educational tool and more field trip-worthy. And keeping exhibits up to certain curriculum standards doesn’t have to affect the budget.
“That’s not an add-on; that’s part of what we do. And it is so integral to true interpretive planning,” she said. “Especially with money as tight as it is. If we don’t try to match educational needs then teachers end up having to try and justify a field trip to the museum.”
In designing exhibits that everyone can enjoy, Turner said accessibility and education go hand in hand.
“We all learn differently and we all have different abilities,” she said. “Some museum goers are visual learners; some are verbal learners; some may be sight or hearing challenged or have physical disabilities. We want to give everyone the opportunity to learn as much as they can.”
In addition to teachers, Turner will also be talking to members of the Historical Society, the Depot Board and other local historians.
“We want to understand their vision and the things that they feel are important,” said Turner. “We hope to garner information from them and learn from their deeper level of experience in aspects Hamlet and the region.”
The final meeting will be open to members of the community.
“Hopefully the museum will be making the area a destination with economic and social impact,” said Turner. “By the (day of the community meeting) I will have heard from a lot of other people too. We want to understand the pride of being from the community. We want to get as much information as we can from as many people as possible.
Meetings will be held as follows: Monday, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Hamlet Depot Board meeting, Rotunda of Hamlet Depot, second floor; Wednesday 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., open forum for members of the Historical Society and other local historians, Rotunda of Hamlet Depot, second floor; Thursday and Friday to 5 p.m., meeting with educators from the area (open invitation, Rotunda of Hamlet Depot, second floor; Thursday, 6 to 8 p.m., open community meeting, Town Hall.