weaving words into feelings

Maya Angelou had an amazing ability to affect people of all backgrounds and all ages, in the way she wove words into feelings. Regardless of background or experience the idea that “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” resonates.

For me it also brings home what we were trying to create when I joined others as a Museum Educator, and wanted to share a space that had the reputation for being stuffy and “hands off”; to challenge that reputation, and share the space for what it really was, a treasure trove of memorabilia, and history. So taking to heart the idea within the saying, we went to work to make the Museum visit a positive experience. This meant that while creating interactive exhibits to appeal to a variety of ages was essential, so too, was being open to changing direction within a museum framework, and being open to taking direction from the visitors themselves. As a museum educator has to make use of the exhibit space, the objects themselves, and the visitors, then, even when the visitors are kindergarten age, their opinions count. A favorite memory is the Oohs and Ahhhhs the children uttered when entering the oversized elevator. How funny, but how important to recognize that this initial welcome to the centre would be central to their desire to share the experience with parents, to encourage others to visit- even if others entered an exhibition space in the more formal manner: up the stairs and past the ticket taker.

Visualize please a wall covered with larger than life Audubon paintings, and a group of grade five students creating the movement and sounds these very static images might have produced. Or enter with me into a hall filled with flat paintings of America’s founding fathers, and hear the group of grade ten and eleven students laughingly comparing the fashions then and (well it was the early 90s)- “now”. Pull out a dollar bill and match the image to the portrait, – you get the picture.

Only recently though did I connect Ms. Angelou’s words to the Gettysburg address, and only because of a chance reading in an obscure book- the following words rang out, and immediately brought to mind: Maya Angelou’s vision. From the Address: “The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here…” Lincoln.
– and the way in which art constantly alludes to earlier art, and manages somehow to reflect back while looking forward.

Poetry by its very nature remains open ended. As do many of the objects we find in different gallery spaces. These objects were created by someone, appreciated by others, and, I have to believe, meant to be shared.

It is the first Monday in August, and teachers are preparing to welcome a new school year. May 2014-2015 be filled with positive experiences. 🙂

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