Realizations of a “Young Cat,” “Spring Chicken” or Whatever Else You Call a Young Person.

Week…twenty something of being an Education Intern at the O’Keeffe Museum. No adorable Pre-schoolers or heavenly choco-tacos this week, but several rather eye-opening meetings, two completely different evening lectures and a much needed tutorial.

To begin with, Monday was our All-Staff Meeting. A glorious time every month where we all get together to chat, eat a bit and hear about updates from the various museum departments. They’re early in the morning, but I always enjoy them nonetheless, it makes me feel like a real employee! My first day back in June began with an All-Staff Meeting.

This meeting was interesting. We were shown our usual TED talk video, and this one was about improvements to the work place. The speaker highlighted different examples of errors from various companies where someone, hopefully knew that what they were doing was useless or incorrect, but they did it anyway. According to the speaker, the excuses for these errors included: Not My Job, Self Jerks (when one allows their own goals to get in the way of the good of the company), The World Has Changed (refusing to change with the times), I Didn’t Know, I Am Not a Fish (not having the necessary experience to relate to customers or visitors), Internal Contradictions (targeting services and such to the wanted visitors, instead of the public), Broken on Purpose (purposefully excluding audiences to appeal to another).

I can see and hear how the museum is evolving and trying to change various things in order to better serve and educate the visitors on Art History, on O’Keeffe and on other Modernists like her. As an intern, I’m really thankful that I have the opportunity to really witness changes and participate in or listen to discussions of new plans for the future. It’s a constant reminder that museums are like living beings that must adapt to changing times and demands. It’s tiring work, but I think figuring out how to do this brings out the creativity in everyone involved. I leave our meetings kind of amazed…there really is so much that can be done to connect with visitors and the surrounding communities.

plotting1 (Don’t worry, Mr. Burns is only plotting good things for the arts…)

In less contemplative news, I also had the pleasure of teaching Jerry, one of our awesome docents, the magic of Microsoft Powerpoint. Why, do you ask? Well let’s back up a week or two, to when the Education staff met with the Research Center staff for a lunch meeting. We were eating and talking about random things towards the end when Jerry came in to set up for his tour group. He began to unload this…huge…old…grey…circular monstrosity and I gasped, “What IS that” to which someone replied that it was a slide projector. Let that sink in ladies and gentlemen, he was using a slide projector. Not one of those loudly buzzing, bright light blinding, lint magnifying projectors all of my teachers used, but a slide projector. The thing I’d never actually seen before, except for the tiny slides, which I always thought were the coolest things ever! I giggled to myself during his lecture when I saw him behind the projector and I noticed that it was pretty dark so that the images would show up better on the wall. Office doors were closed, window screens were down…I just found it hi-larious.

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Needless to say, I laughed. Hard. I mean, tears and everything. I was the youngest at the meeting but I must’ve seemed even younger at that point. Eumie mentioned that there’d been one intern who knew NOTHING about typewriters, but hey, I can at least say I know how to work a typewriter! I also find them quite neat as well…Man, how young does my fascination with typewriters and projector slides make me sound?? In my defense, I still remember rewinding VHS tapes, floppy disks and sporting my Dad’s Sony Walkman everywhere I went.

Jerry had mentioned awhile ago that he wanted me to show him how to use Powerpoint but I didn’t realize the extent of how much my skills were needed! So Monday morning after our meeting, I helped Jerry save all of the photos for his tours to his desktop and showed him how to navigate the treacherous waters of Powerpoint.

After that, the rest of the day and week included me beginning to organize the thousands (…okay, hundreds…okay, just many!) lesson plans that we have, highlighting the Common Core Standards they met, a meeting with the Education Committee, and two lectures. Wednesday night’s lecture was about still life painting and how it and the approaches to it have changed throughout the years. I went up to the speaker at the end and mentioned how his talk reminded me of sitting in my Art History classes. He said “Oh God, I hope not!” But I assured him that what I said was a good thing. The other lecture was on Thursday night and was about the relationships between math and music and math and nature. As much as I hate math and science (okay…maybe not hate, but they sure do frustrate me!), I really enjoyed this lecture as well. While looking at musical notes and such, the inclusion of the Harry Potter theme made the whole thing even better. It also caused me spaz out just a tad and turn around to my co-worker, waving my hands and whispering loudly, “It’s my childhood!!”

tumblr_moykpjThJm1rhek0ko1_500  Ashamed of this, I am not.

All in all, last week was a pretty good week. I learned a lot, including not to offer ONLY chips at a lecture for young people because they will continuously get up LOUDLY rustle the chips in the bowls while the speaker is talking to get more.

I wonder what this new week has in store…I kind of have plans for Halloween, but I haven’t even decided what I’m going to be yet!!

Adriana Burkins,
Education Intern