The Thanksgiving table for our large family is long. It snakes through two rooms of the farmhouse where we gather making room for 20+ family members across four generations ranging from 5 to 93 years of age. In what has become a family tradition, each of us shares what we are grateful for. One year these messages were baked into dinner rolls, carefully opened, and read aloud. This year we built a Jenga Tower of Gratitude. We each wrote on a block–or 2 or 3–and then placed all the blocks in a pile. Together we built the tower, reading each gratitude in turn: family, lazy Sundays, friends, toys, time outdoors, language, stabilized health. In a culminating game of Jenga, we each removed a block at a time until the tower tumbled. A thoughtful 8-year old observed that’s what happens when we remove gratitude from our lives.
What my museum life and work would be without the generosity of others and good fortunes small and large is hard to imagine. In reflecting on this, it is clearly the people, friends and colleagues. Some I know and some I only know by name. They are writers and thinkers; designers and developers; fabricators and educators; fundraisers and marketers; researchers and evaluators; curators and conservators; greeters, guides, explainers, and cashiers; leaders and trustees; and volunteers. Some are seasoned veterans and others are new to the field, some are moving on to new adventures, others are stepping into leadership adventures. My thanks to…
The bold thinkers and friendly provocateurs, instigators, experimenters, early adopters, and agents of change; the ones who push boundaries and horizons, who reframe familiar ideas, wake us up to new possibilities, and challenge their own thinking and that of others. Your blogs, hacks, reverberating phrases, and questions will provide fuel and fodder for years ahead.
The curious and generous colleagues actively committed to the field’s continuing growth and development; those who edit and guest edit, write and review journals and digests: Journal of Museum Education, Curator, the American Journal of Play, The Exhibitionist, Visitor Studies Journal, Informal Learning review. A special thanks to Christine Castle for 10 years of Museum Education Monitor.
The staff and volunteers who make museums run, hum, and shine; those who welcome and greet visitors, repair exhibits, clean up messes, and find loose parts; those who re-unite children separated from parents and caregivers and respond to visitor complaints; those who give demonstrations and lead tours; and those who answer questions and give directions cheerfully, patiently, and with a smile day-after-day. Thank you, greeters, who have welcomed me to dozens of museums in 2015.
The connectors, networkers, and partners who keep relationships and ideas flowing across the field; those who keep our far-flung field in touch locally, nationally, and internationally; who collaborate on projects and share resources; who staff professional associations; and to those who invigorate the museum field by introducing ideas and practices from medicine, education, business, libraries, and beyond. To those who keep crossing and connecting contexts and building bridges–a special thank you.
The friends and colleagues who show up for one another who mark major milestones and new jobs; who celebrate grand openings, life-time accomplishments, awards, and achievements. To those who gather and congratulate, who show up and celebrate honors, openings, and expansions, thank you for being there for the rest of us.
The Museum Notes readers and subscribers, those who read faithfully and occasionally, comment and connect; to those who share posts with others and build on the ideas and information with their own questions and thinking, my sincere appreciation.