Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Museum memberships make great gifts!

Yesterday at the Tea with the Curator I shared a story about my own experience with museum memberships as a kid. I thought it was worthwhile to write a post about it on the blog this morning.

When I was little, my parents divorced and my mother, sister, and I went to live with my grandparents. We didn't have much money, so our entertainment options were quite limited.

One year, my grandparents gave us a family membership to the Erie Canal Village in my hometown of Rome, NY. To this day, my mom still talks about how every weekend she would ask my sister and I what we wanted to do, and can you guess where we wanted to go?

The Erie Canal Village!

We went countless times that year, and it didn't cost my mother a dime. It was a perfect gift for us.

I credit that experience with sparking my interest in history. When I was in college, I took a summer job as an interpreter (you'd probably know it better as a "tour guide") at the Erie Canal Village for two summers. That experience, plus a host of other internships, helped me get into the most prestigious museum studies graduate program in the country -- the Cooperstown Graduate Program!

In addition to my "foundation" at the ECV, I had a wonderful high school history teacher -- Mr. Gary Ford -- who showed me that history could be exciting. He taught me that history is more than just names, dates, and places -- it is about PEOPLE. We worked very hard in that class, but somehow the work didn't seem as difficult because he made it so interesting for us! I ended up getting the highest score on the AP American History test, something that I am still proud of today. I publicly thanked Mr. Ford in the acknowledgments of my first book, Canton: A Journey Through Time. (I sent him a copy of the book and got a wonderful letter in return -- if a teacher has influenced your life, LET THEM KNOW IT! It will mean more than you can imagine, because so few people take the time to do it.)

Back to museum memberships. In this economy, it is more important than ever to get the most out of every dollar. I truly believe that museum memberships are worth much more than what they cost. And our museum membership is even more valuable, because ours includes reciprocal admission to over 250 science centers across the country and around the world! Chris and I have used ours several times on vacation. Even out-of-town family and friends can benefit from a membership to our museum.

If you know of a family who could use some educational fun this summer, please consider the gift of a family membership. There is so much to do inside our building! Not every kid will want to grow up to become a curator, I'm sure, but a museum membership WILL give them an appreciation for history and science that only a museum can offer them!

Click here for more information.

1 comment:

Paige said...

Ah, Mr. Ford was FABULOUS. And I didn't know you got the highest score on that test -- congratulations! I just remember him telling us how to make goofy faces if we got tired to get the blood flowing to our brains. LOL