Mystic Museum Educators Join Forces for Professional Development

On January 20th at Mystic Aquarium, nearly 40 museum educators attended the inaugural meeting of a professional development series to foster relationships and collaborative opportunities between local museum educators.

February 7, 2012 – Mystic Museum of Art (MMoA) in partnership with Mystic Aquarium, Mystic Seaport, and Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center began this series of meetings to connect local museum educators with one another for professional networking and to combine resources for staff training. MMoA Director of Education, Dawn Salerno stated, “It started two years ago with the four organizations’ department heads meeting for lunch. Those lunches allowed us to ‘talk shop’ informally, and through those meetings we found we had common interests and challenges. We began conceptualizing this idea of a partnered professional development series last fall. The January meeting was really just the beginning”.

The group will meet four times a year; each meeting will be held at a different museum so that attendees have the opportunity to experience each of the four institutions. Each meeting will have a social and professional development component including icebreakers to encourage networking and small group discussions with others who hold similar job responsibilities. Upcoming meetings will focus on topics such as; working with children who have special needs, classroom management techniques, and program logistics. The educators also hope to invite presenters on special topics related to their industry.

All of the participating museums offer educational programs in varying degrees, such as school tours, public talks, summer camps, and community outreach. MMoA hosts exhibitions of contemporary regional art and a permanent collection of early Mystic artists; Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center is a combination wildlife sanctuary, natural history museum, and educational facility focused on the habitats of southeastern Connecticut; Mystic Seaport is a living history museum depicting New England coastal life in the 19th century; and Mystic Aquarium is one of the nation’s leading aquariums offering hands-on education programs that build a connection with the natural world and foster an appreciation for our ocean planet.

The series is currently open to educators at the four collaborating Mystic institutions. The next meeting will be held in the spring. For more info contact Dawn Salerno, Director of Education at the Mystic Museum of Art: (860)536-7601 x209.