One-size-fits-all solutions are getting ever further away from the reality of our museums today. It's evident with all of our audiences, and when you run education programs for teens, you have a chance to get immediate feedback on what works and what doesn't.
This presentation highlights some of the ways the Brooklyn Museum has been approaching new teen programming. While we have several long-established, much-tweaked, and proven-successful teen programs, we have also spent the last few years exploring alternative models we might offer the ever-increasing pool of teens who express interest in joining us. We will use this session to highlight two of those programs, which offer two different models of flexibility and adaptation.
NYC Haunts was a summer program focused on digital game design in the Museum's galleries. Students spent their time exploring the galleries, learning the basics of game design, and creating a mobile game to help visitors uncover a (fictional... or IS IT?) mystery by closely examining collection objects for clues. This program is a successful part of Global Kids' Online Leadership Program and has been run in collaboration with schools and libraries. The Brooklyn Museum collaboration (run by a team of Global Kids and Brooklyn Museum staff) was the first time this program expanded to a museum setting, as well as the first time the game design software (TaleBlazer) was used to create an indoor game. Adapting the program to these new parameters required some creative thinking, problem solving, and iterative testing, all of which were also part of the game design process itself.
The program design and execution itself became a model of the principles the program sets out to teach teens. BKM Digital Artizens: Feminist Project is the newest on the Brooklyn Museum's roster of teen programming. It is a grant-funded, three-year program with a dedicated coordinator who is creating the program from the ground up. The program will put a feminist lens on how art history, politics, and pop culture combine and offer teens a chance to explore the Brooklyn Museum (home to the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art) collections. The participants will be the driving voice to create a digital guide to all these issues, but how that will play out is still to be discovered. The outcomes of this program are yet to be seen. So are the outputs. It is a program purposefully built with an inherent reliance on flexibility and adaptation.
Our museum's mission includes phrases like "the unique experience of each visitor", "the primacy of the visitor experience", and "drawing on both new and traditional tools of communication, interpretation, and presentation". This presentation will offer a glimpse into some of the varying ways we're letting that mission guide our teen programs.