Aaaaayy, it’s ok, the FONSI said so!

I enjoyed reading this book, if only for the fact that I could get fired up, not only about the problems and possible solutions, but also King himself. The style and organization of the book are juxtaposed nicely against the complicated and face-palm inducing laws and jargon. For this post I have numerous coherent comments and thoughts that I will share, but I’ve also pulled out some of my favorite quotes and some random thoughts at the end.


I’m less upset that CRM and EIA consultants allow their reports to be dictated by their employers than I am about the fact that the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife, etc, all of these government agencies who are tasked with impartial review have zero integrity. “So before BLM had even received a draft of the EA from the contractor—BNSF’s contractor, that is—who was preparing it, the Corps, BLM, and BNSF took it for granted that BLM was going to issue a FONSI—that is, find that the project would have no significant impact on the human environment….But what’s important here is that although neither the Corps nor BLM had carried out the assessment that was both legally and logically necessary to determine whether all these effects amounted to something significant, they already knew they were going to find them not so. In short, the fix was in. This is by no means uncommon. I’ve seen requests for proposals (RFPs) in which the agency seeking a contractor specified that the contractor would prepare an EA and FONSI, and I’ve very, very rarely seen a case in which an EA actually led to the decision to do an EIS. It does happen, but usually only with a lot of pressure from outside the agency.” (p. 57). On top of all of that King later states: “And most of the laws give federal agencies almost unfettered authority to interpret their responsibilities” (p. 65). WHAT!? This is disgraceful. I’m disappointed moreover because I feel this is the sort of crap that the public can use to argue for privatization, that big government is bad, and many other blanket statements that ignore the fact that a restructuring of the system would help rather than throwing the whole thing out or over to some massive corporation who then controls the process from start to finish.


I have some reservations about the wild horse issue. I do not know enough about the BLM’s management, but I do know that in some areas, the wild horses are actually destroying the countryside and dying of starvation at the same time. I get that King is using this as an example of the bigger picture that all parties involved are refusing to look at, but the way he presents it constrains the story and makes the BLM out to be the bad guys. Maybe they are the bad guys, but King has fallen into the same trap he criticizes, not taking the time to discuss all of the evidence.


With the case of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe I am more than outraged. Have these archaeologists never heard of landscape archaeology? It’s an entire field of study on the prehistoric/historic use of land by groups of people including spiritual sites. You have one job, do it, and do it with integrity (i.e. in an undisturbed manner).


I like that he isn’t shooting for the protection of everything just because it’s part of the built or natural heritage. The time needs to be taken for a productive discussion of the benefits, consequences, and needs of individual cases. We should be able to have democratic deliberations in order to find the best balance or compromise. According to King, “that, regrettably, we can’t presently do.” (p. 16) “I’m not saying that all the people who come to me with their problems ought to prevail, but I’m enough of a populist to think that they ought to be heard, and negotiated with in good faith, and that they ought to have a level playing field on which to contend. They aren’t and they don’t, and in a democracy, that strikes me as a problem.” (p. 26). This seems to be his mantra. If we could only get all of the parties to sit down and have an actual conversation, without the jargon and the grandstanding and the fogging, we might actually make progress through a legitimate process of deliberation.




“The notion that these requirements serve an actual purpose—that it’s a good idea to think about what damage may result from something you’re thinking of doing, before doing it—has been quite lost.” (pg 7) – I feel like this is true for more than just natural or built heritage.

“perceive it to be a mere administrative nuisance” (67) – I’m terribly sorry you think caring for the environmental impacts of your actions are a nuisance, but future generations would really appreciate it if you would do your job.

So is a solution to the “analyst as a proponent” problem to de-privatize CRM and EIA?

Aren’t all government documents full of jargon and hard to comprehend? Ever tried to read a proposed bill or law or filed your taxes for that matter?

“There’s really no reason why not, except that the application of laws like NEPA and section 106 seems to cause people to shut down their faculties of common sense.” (78).

Politics, Education, and Idiots.

“History does political work. As a corollary, memory is a function of power, selective forgetting, and intentional remembering to advance certain ends in the here and now.” (DeVega). The truth in this statement is astounding. This piece and the two Washington Post pieces reflect the issues that arise when political issues infiltrate history, and history education in particular. By turning the Civil War into a struggle over states’ rights, the narrative of the history is flattened and the people involved are forgotten. The denial of slavery as a major issue devalues the entire history of the Civil War. It becomes a half-story. I’m with DeVega: “I do not know if the Sons of Confederate Veterans and their related ilk are good people or bad. In fact, I could care less. All I want is a little honesty in how American history is taught and remembered.” Masoff and her ilk are bad people. They aren’t evil. But anyone who writes a textbook for children by using three unverified internet sources and can still sleep at night is not a good person. Also, how is this a defense: “As controversial as it is, I stand by what I write,” she said. “I am a fairly respected writer”? You may be a fairly respected writer of romance novellas, but that does not make your poorly researched history book anything other than fairly full of inaccuracies. So maybe that is a little harsh and it isn’t entirely Masoff who is to blame. The fact that a panel of educators read this book and thought “Hey, that all sounds pretty good” is extremely infuriating. “The book also survived the Education Department’s vetting and was ruled “accurate and unbiased” by a committee of content specialists and teachers.” What?! The other Washington Post article might make me despair even more than the state of Virginia’s idiotic panel of content specialists and teachers. Earl Taylor may actually be evil. “That led him in 1995 to create Heritage Academy, a public charter school where he teaches American history.” This is the type of charter school that leads to bad press about all charter schools. I read about this school last summer. The Skousen books, The 5,000 Year Leap and The Making of America both have heavy religious tones and teach what most people would consider a biased, racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic history of the United States. See either this Salon article or this Huffpost article for more information.

The interaction between Cebula and the manager of the Baron Von Munchausen historic home is a great example of one professional attempting to help another who is incapable of responding professionally. Having worked in a small historic house as a volunteer guide, I understand the stories that get passed from one generation of volunteers to the next. I feel this is usually harmless as they are normally anecdotal stories about past family members, not blanket statements about life during an entire historic period. Cebula addresses the issue we discussed a while back about the “servants” who kept the house running. In reading the manager’s response, it seems clear she missed or misunderstood most of his points. And then she blames the schools: “You have to understand the younger visitors know very little about the Revolutionary War period, due to the fact that the schools have gone downhill and do not give this generation a good education ..The younger students can barely start a sentence without the word “like, like” and continue to ramble with the worst English imaginable.” While her defense for not discussing slavery is because it is too hateful of a subject and that children would treat black children as slaves. How were you teaching about slavery?! It seems her institution isn’t much better than the schools she blames if she decides it would be better to sugar-coat history. The best part is that fact that the “Mission Statement” for her historic house is to both preserve history and educational projects. “It was very disturbing to us that these children would feel less of a person if we continued to banter about slavery….our “Mission Statement” for this house is to preserve our history, patriotic service and educational projects…Not to bring into the mix about a most heinous practice that existed over two centuries ago…I feel that bringing up a hateful subject would be cruel to the student, who would start hating the messenger ..details of cruelty is a subject most people with sensitivity do not want to hear about….So there you have it.” Yes, so there you have it…a terrible way to educate visitors and an excellent way to not preserve the past.

Now I will step down off my high horse on a soapbox. (Sorry).

Is a STEM or a Liberal Arts Education better for employment?

If you have the time, this article makes some interesting points about the importance and value of liberal education over a hard-nosed focus on STEM education when thinking about employability and the US economic system.

Business and Civic Minded Citizens

The piece on historic consulting on the American Historical Association website reminded me of contract archaeology work. I encountered and applied for many of these history contract projects in the UK. Most often they were for city or shire councils and on occasion for smaller organizations like local museums or churches. I had not thought about the business savvy aspect of consulting work, but it makes perfect sense. You have to market yourself and deliver what you advertise because you are the only one held accountable. If you do not maintain a good business reputation, your consulting opportunities will dwindle. This aspect is very clear in the “Careers” section of The History Factory website, “The History Factory employs passionate, energetic, hardworking and intellectually curious people who have an interest in business and history.”



This article was eerily similar to my experience after completely my master’s degree in Viking Archaeology. I was able to get a job to pay the bills while I volunteered at a local historic house. I worked with the Learning Officer to start an outreach program, but I was only there once a week. I often felt that my actual job was a waste of time, but I relied on it as I also turned in CV and cover letters to no avail. “Knitting and bicycling [and coffee making] don’t translate into completed articles and conference papers,” (Putman). I spent a lot of time teaching myself about various aspects of archaeology and history; eventually I managed to find some contract archaeology work and I did some freelance work for a publishing company and a local history project. Finally I landed a job at the National Museum of Scotland. I became a Visitor Services Assistant based not on my history or archaeology merits, but because I had worked in the service industry for five years. The job I had thought was a waste became my doorway into paid museum work. Yet, after all of that, I am back in school. Like Putman, I often wonder if I will end up in the same situation after graduation, in that seemingly eternal struggle for a paid heritage position.


I read the two parts of the Public History Commons online discussion of “What employers seek in public history graduates.” Both parts gave me hope and inspired me to take new actions in preparing for my future and living more fully. The information on professional groups in Beatty’s piece and the eight steps outlined by Stroh are starting points and points of reflection that I will incorporate into my life. I wholeheartedly agree with the following excerpt from Stroh’s piece:

“The focus must move beyond collections, programs, and exhibits.  We can and should nurture a commitment to these things, but with a re-purposed fundamental intent; to use these skills as a vehicle for a larger purpose.

This larger purpose is personal, societal, and organizational advancement within the context of historical understanding, an awareness of place, and a relationship with humanity. Instead of focusing on career specializations or subject matter expertise, professional development, especially beyond academia, must focus on the development of people — of civic minded citizens — able to lead, inspire and engage community based on an appreciation, knowledge and love of history. In practice, this approach develops skills necessary to do great history, but also those important for an informed democratic society and modern workforce.”

If any of this excerpt resonates with you I would highly recommend reading Amy Gutmann’s Democratic Education and the American Alliance of Museums’ Equity and Excellence report. Gutmann can be a bit of struggle, but she’s worth it and will challenge your beliefs in a constructive manner.

Ego-Stroking and Romanticizing the Past

“Apparently he leads his men through steep gorges in their period clothes and shoes, yelling at them to keep up.” This immediately reminded me of my German archaeologist friend who creates authentic replicas of Anglo-Saxon and Viking clothing and accoutrements and forced two of his friends to camp in the Highlands with only the replica gear. Archaeologists are crazy.

I had no idea that some of the first reenactments were done by veterans of the battles they reenacted. “Psychologically, those re-enactments must have been a way of keeping past traumas real and under control; a means of talking about tough experiences with people who’ve been through the same. But I’ve never understood why anyone would re-enact a war in which they’ve never fought.” (Nick Kowalczyk). I wonder about the importance of intervening time between re-enactments and the actual events. For example, the Vietnam War, how soon is too soon for those not involved with the actual event to recreate it? Is there a ‘correct’ time or should it matter? I have been perplexed by battlefield re-enactors my whole life. I cannot decide if the act can be considered ‘appropriate’ commemoration, or simply more a way for people to try to lose themselves in another time period.

(For goodness sake, if one more of these readings mentions Starbucks I think I might cry.)

Ann M. Little’s point, “Romaticizing the past, like re-enacting, is a White thing,” is spot on. Her discussion of the “blinkered and segregated” history re-enactments often tell made me realize that it is not the actual act of re-enactment that I dislike, but the stories on which they focus. Not just the death and battle aspect, but the fact that they are the stories of the victors and the defeated, the oppressor and the oppressed. “Are there women’s groups who regularly dress up in hundred-year old clothing styles and re-enact the violent climax of the suffrage movement?  Personally, I would turn out as a spectator for these events–and I might even be persuaded to get into costume and participate myself–but who will play the thugs with the torches, guns, clubs, firehoses, chains, and gavage equipment?  Will middle-aged white men be persuaded to cede the heroic roles to other reenactors?” I love these questions. Let’s change our group project and see if we can get some answers.

The article on the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ National Heritage Rally was good, but not startling or groundbreaking. Of course the SCV needs to recognize the glaringly obvious faults in the Confederacy’s argument, while still acknowledging the courage of the average soldier. This should not be news. However, the conclusion bothered me. Why does the author think that, “[m]aking the Civil War relevant today is a formidable task, given how much our technology and values keep us focused on the triviality of the present.”? It shouldn’t be difficult considering modern events still easily tie into the history of the Civil War and slavery. Is he really just afraid to say that word?

The statement that Sue Gardner’s issue are “the traditions of the computer world and an obsessive fact-loving realm that is dominated by men and, some say, uncomfortable for women” is an interesting one. The first part about the computer world is probably true. After reading the other two articles on Wikipedia, I wonder if “fact-loving” is really the best way to phrase the Wiki world, or would “stick-measuring” or “ego-stroking” be more accurate? Aside from the fact that secondary sources are valued more highly simply for verification purposes, the whole process of editing a Wiki page sounds rather more hostile than the community-based forum it is portrayed to be in common use. “By offering our scholarly findings to the Wikipedia community as peers in a larger process of negotiating the truth, we have the best chance of helping to build a Wikipedia that truly reflects the fullest and best picture possible of the always fraught and diverse process of establishing what we know.” While this conclusion to Famiglietti’s article makes a great point, and we shouldn’t rely on the accuracy of any one scholar, I am worried by the undervaluing of primary sources. Afterall, in today’s easy-access Internet market, many primary sources are digitized and therefore verifiable are they not?

That two-headed calf…

There were numerous aspects of the second half of Historic Preservation that intrigued me and raised interesting questions. Aside from detailing the process of applying for designation on the National Register of Historic Places, chapter five raised the issue of ‘integrity’ and the issue of the recent past. As we discussed in class last week, the ‘integrity’ of a building includes the context in which it stands. As an archaeologist, I understand the importance of context. Artifacts without a context tell poor tales of the past. However, moving a building out of its original context should not immediately decrease the historic or cultural integrity of that building. The story of the building’s move may become integral to the overall story of the town and a new context may have evolved. I think the discussion around integrity and the process of designation emphasizes the idiosyncratic nature of historic preservation. Every building, district, landmark, etc. has a story to tell, if you do the research and care to listen.

Now for the recent past. I’ll admit, I audibly groaned when I read “DOCOMOMO”. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have little love for modern architecture. I have possibly less love for recent history as a subject of interest. However, I appreciate the need to preserve unique representations of architecture and places of recent historical importance. (Even if I do not appreciate their appearance.) As I mentioned above, every building has a story to tell and many modern buildings tell the story of American architectural history.

I enjoyed the discussion of the various types of intervention and the tools and technology for documenting and preserving buildings. This chapter was particularly poignant in light of our discussion on the possibility of gaining employment in historic preservation. I thought it would be extremely interesting to produce Historic Structure Reports. Not only do I find the process of researching and learning fascinating, but also these are the stories of the lives of buildings. It would seem that digital tools have made documenting buildings easier and more convenient. However, like all technology, there are limits and often getting out paper, pencil, and measuring tape will produce the best results.

One final issue was brought to my attention while reading chapter nine. I greatly enjoyed the discussion of the Main Street Program and the revitalization of historic downtowns. The discussion on historic theatres reminded me of the Wilma in Missoula and the Egyptian here in Boise. They are magnets for film festivals, music groups, and community events in both cities. My only problem with this chapter comes just before these great discussions. The authors state, “These core areas should not be seen as museums where time stands still but as organisms that continually evolve into new forms.” (p. 279). Did that bother anyone else? I hope that we are moving to a point where museums are not places where time stands still, but are also organisms that grow and evolve with their communities. How awful to have a book about historic preservation use museums as the source of their ‘what not to be’ example. Then I think about the two-headed calf and I die a little inside.

Viollet-le-Don’t Touch my Buildings

This is my first foray into Historic Preservation literature, and I’ll admit I was a little wary and had a few preconceived notions about how engaging this book would be or not be. I was pleasantly surprised and entirely engaged in the reading. The authors do a great job of introducing the history of preservation practices and legislation in the United States while intermixing the theoretical and philosophical background of different schools of preservation.

While studying archaeology both here and in the UK, I often encountered the question of “Why?” Why do we spend long, hard, cold days in the field minutely recording and recovering pieces of the long dead past? Why do we meticulously map and illustrate standing buildings? These are great essential questions of archaeology, history, and preservation – of public history in all forms. This book addresses these questions through the theoretical discussions of how preservation should and has occurred in the United States. The authors pose the question “Does preservation stand in the way of progress?” (p. 12). They answer this question using numerous sources, but my two favorite quotes sum up my feelings on the issue rather nicely. The first is from John Lawrence: “The basic purpose of preservation is not to arrest time, but to mediate sensitively with the forces of change. It is to understand the present as a product of the past and a modifier of the future.” (p. 14). The second, in the authors’ own words, supplements the first quotation and serves to begin answering the essential questions I mentioned earlier. “Our society will have matured when its primary focus shifts from the quantitative to the qualitative – when we recognize the need to preserve our built heritage because it represents who we are as a people.” (p. 15).

How then should we preserve the past? I absolutely loathe the philosophy of Viollet-le-Duc. Rebuilding structures as the ‘should have been’?! How pompous and narcissistic! However, this was certainly the philosophy in the United Kingdom during the Victorian period. It was practically championed by Queen Victoria herself and is exemplified in the current structure of Edinburgh Castle. It was basically redesigned under Queen Victoria’s orders to look more like an ancient fort. The problem is, now everything dates to the Victorian period except two buildings! On the other hand, leaving structures completely untouched is a rather melancholy thought. I am far more a fan of Ruskin and the idea that “The greatest glory of a building is not in its stones, or in its gold. Its glory is in its Age.” (p. 22). However, I believe both philosophies are cautionary tales that should be used as points to start the discussions of individual preservation projects. I also very much enjoyed the inclusion of preservation philosophies of other cultures. I was particularly intrigued by the Japanese philosophy that reflects the cycle of life, death, and renewal. The question for modern preservationists is how can elements of each philosophy serve to preserve this particular structure, in this particular setting?

The evolution of preservation movements in the United States was very interesting. It is easy to see connections between the changing theories in both preservation and history. Both switched from a focus on prominent men or their houses, to thematic research or preservation. In light of the piece we read about the Black Bottom, I appreciated the section “A Reaction Against Urban Renewal”. The authors poignantly point out the relationship these projects have with the communities in which they are implemented: “The past was no longer being ignored, but now was purposefully being destroyed.” (p. 44). The authors point to Jane Jacobs’ book The Death and Life of Great American Cities to further emphasize this point. “Her book was an important catalyst in stirring the public’s recognition that more than just saving some landmark structures, preservation dealt with preserving the very fabric of communities.

As a final thought, I appreciated the list of Boise’s endangered historic sites. I only knew where a few of them were and I am intrigued by those listings and by the bike tours mentioned by Mandy. And as a final, final thought – Does anyone else really dislike modern architecture or is that just me? Straight lines, no embellishment, harsh, cold materials. No thank you.


The Participatory Museum is both useful and entertaining. The style of writing is detailed, articulate, and witty. The major themes that jumped out at me throughout the first half of the book were scaffolding, clear communication, trust between visitor and institution, scaffolding, individualization, staff involvement, and scaffolding. Yes, scaffolding. I do love a good bit of scaffolding. “The misguided perception is that it’s more respectful to allow visitors to do their own thing—that the highest-value participatory experiences will emerge from unfettered self-expression. But that idea reflects a misunderstanding of what motivates participation. Visitors don’t want a blank slate for participation. They need well-scaffolded experiences that put their contributions to meaningful use.” Love it. I think this should be a key takeaway from this reading for our group project. Often institutions become overzealous and want everyone to be creators. Many of the best participatory experiences I have had are when I engage with what other visitors have created. I enjoy being a part of the process of creating, but am not prepared or willing to start from scratch. Creating programs that involve all versions of participation from individual intake to active creation is obviously challenging, but ultimately the most rewarding.

I appreciate her focus on audience-centered design and the examples she uses to illustrate it, especially the I Like Museums trails. The idea of creating ‘user profiles’ within the museum and the inherent difficulties intrigued me as someone who worked as a Visitor Services Assistant in a national museum. There was a strange paradox in the directives from on high – we were always counting visitor numbers, but we were supposed to be focused on creating memorable moments for individuals. I thought our maps were pretty good, but now, thinking about really creating individual experiences, they were absolutely useless unless all of your individual desires centered on a highlights tour.

I really like the “me-to-we” design that Simon has created and outlined. I think the most useful aspect of this design is that it provides scaffolding (yes) for developing and for evaluating participatory programs. We can look at or participate in events/exhibitions and begin to understand how they can be scaled up to include stages 3-5, or maintained as is, to engage with the desired audience. I love the idea of creating opportunities for individuals to become a community. After all, museums are public, social institutions and we were just discussing their role in bringing communities together around difficult subjects. The example of Free2choose sounds like an amazing experience, not only as a way to create a true participatory experience at stage 3, but also a great way to tackle difficult issues and at least get people thinking and talking amongst themselves, if not in the larger group.

There was a lot of information to take in and the number and quality of examples Simon uses is extremely helpful in understanding her major points. As a final thought, we should use the example of It Is What It Is as cautionary tale while we design our group project. Our idea for Conversations for Common Grounds is amazing, but the key is the scaffolding. We are taking the best aspect of the Human Library and remixing it with conversations between ‘serious students of…’ (which is a better way of saying ‘expert’) that can then be broken down by individuals in groups. Thinking about this, what is our goal? Is it the dialogue? Having a well-defined goal and designing the specifics backwards (Understanding by Design) may be a great way to continue developing our group project, which, if you can’t tell, I’m super excited about.

Proving Your Worth – the Museum Educator’s Story

The role of formal education departments and programs in museums is rapidly expanding as these institutions continue to realize their duty to serve the public in this manner. As the Education Outreach Coordinator for the Idaho State History Museum, Ellen Morfit knows this, and is working with the rest of the Education Department (Kurt Zwolfer), to continue to improve the museum’s education programs.

Ellen’s journey to the Idaho State History Museum (ISHM) begins with a passion for history and a desire to work in museums. When she moved to New York, she took the opportunity to begin volunteering with the Brooklyn Historic Museum and the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and soon decided to go all in and obtain a degree in Museum Education from the prestigious Bank Street College of Education. Her program included weekly museum visits, six weeks of student teaching (she also obtained a teaching certification), and a semester-long internship with a local museum. Ellen was determined to work at an art museum – the MET in particular – but her advisor refused. She insisted Ellen apply for an internship with the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Her advisor won. It was the perfect fit. During her internship, Ellen was able to gain experience in visitor evaluations, program development, and teaching. One of the programs she developed is still running and engages visitors of all ages in discussions on sweatshops, labor movements, and immigrant experiences. Ellen recalls, “When I worked at the Tenement museum, it was on the verge of exploding into something amazing…I mean it was amazing, but they, since I left there, and that was twelve years ago, they’ve just blossomed.” The Lower East Side Tenement Museum is now part of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience and is a leader in the field for integrating the past and the present and engaging visitors in dialogue around difficult and important issues.

Fast forward to the present and Ellen is in her third year at ISHM. She began by volunteering for the museum while she was a stay-at-home mom raising her daughter and helping her parents. After eight years of volunteering and paid summer program work, Ellen was offered the opportunity to take and shape a part-time position running the outreach program for the museum. In discussing her different experiences in education programs, Ellen highlighted the importance of the time students are in the museum and participating in individual programs. In order to truly engage with the subject, Ellen would like to see the museum’s current twenty-minute programs extended to 45 minutes, in a manner similar to those now offered by the Discovery Center. This would allow the students to engage with the material on a more meaningful level instead of feeling like a “‘dog and pony’ show, because you don’t have the time…you have to somehow figure out how you can make those twenty minutes worthwhile for the kids.” Ellen is also working on expanding the outreach program by incorporating different technologies, such as live streaming lessons, in order to serve students across the state. While Ellen and I did not get a chance to discuss this, the live streaming would not help students engage with the actual objects often used in museum programs, however, many of these students have not had the chance to engage with the museum at all so this is certainly an improvement.

Ellen recognized the value of her experience at Bank Street in light of one of the current issue in the field of museum education – museum studies degree or museum education degree and the pursuit of a job. Ellen pointed out that her program provided basic overviews for all areas of museum work, but focused on education. Museum studies programs do the same, but lack the specific focus or ‘this is where I’m going’ factor. Many open positions require an education degree of some sort and/or teaching experience. Advice from Ellen for those entering the field includes involvement in social media of all forms and continued professional development and education. While a drawback of living in a smaller city, such as Boise, has been a lack of resources for such development, Ellen regularly participates in webinars by the American Association of Museums and maintains contacts with museum friends back East. Ellen believes educators should enjoy working with children, be team players, be a resource for teachers, be flexible, be willing to learn, have a solid sense of humor, and did she mention enjoy working with children?

Ellen’s Bank Street professor once told her, “As an educator, you’re going to have to continue to prove your worth, over and over again.” That was over a decade ago. Many museums recognize the value of well-trained, experienced educators and the role they play in fulfilling the social contract museums have with the public. As the field of museum education continues to grow in importance, educators must remember their purpose is to support and nurture life-long learners.