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MCDC Takes on ACM Conference

By: Tessia Samuelson

During the third week in May, three of the staff at the Magic City Discovery Center were

given the opportunity to attend the Association of Children’s Museum InterActivity

Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. The staff that attended the event included; the Executive

Director, Wendy Keller, Educator, Tessia Samuelson, and Lead Discovery Guide, Brittney

Avery-Wood. The theme of the conference was “Flourish” and it focused on how the

field can ensure that every child prospers and becomes their best self, which in turn

creates a more caring, compassionate, inclusive, and sustainable global community. The

ACM Conference is essentially the museum equivalent to a teacher’s professional

development. They were also able to network and connect with different museum

employees and share ideas with one another.

Conference attendees were able to attend six different blocks of sessions, which

included gallery walks, flash talks, prototype creation, group therapy, and game show-style fun. Brittney’s favorite session was titled “Let Yourself Flourish: Reconnecting with

your inner child.” She was able to participate in activities meant to reignite her

relationship with her younger self, as a means toward enhancing the work she does for

the museum. Tessia’s favorite session was titled “Drawing Jam with Lynda Barry.” She

was able to learn about the relationship between the hand and the brain in order to

better understand the spontaneous images that come from drawing. The session dove

into the idea of how free a child’s mind can be, and the importance of asking children to

interpret their drawings. Wendy’s favorite session was titled “So, You Want to Start a

Flourishing Volunteer Program?” She learned techniques to create a flourishing and

engaging volunteer program for volunteers of all ages and experience levels. The

session also discussed the hiring and onboarding process for volunteers and how to

make programming and tasks more meaningful.

The three attended the Evening at Madison Children’s Museum event, where there was

local food and drinks served throughout the museum. Madison Children’s Museum

stretches to four floors, including an interactive garden rooftop, and a Wonderground

outdoor area playing local live music. The three came back with many ideas to

implement at the Magic City Discovery Center and can’t wait to share everything they

learned with their staff in the upcoming weeks!


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