That magic feeling
My first job working in the museum field was as a guide. I was still in high school and I had the opportunity to volunteer at a local museum giving people tours. I can still remember the magical feeling that comes about when you help people to make a connection to something tangible, to something from their own experience.
I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to do this type of hands-on work in recent years. My role has mainly been behind-the-scenes helping to create environments and opportunities for visitors to enjoy.
Native American speaker
Recently – a group of young children visited the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. They are learning about local history and applying what they know to learn in order to write better in English. The course instructor desired that the students could speak with a native English speaker at the museum. I was told. “I was close enough.” (After all I am a native American speaker)
Some pretty sharp kids interviewed me about my job. I decided it was a good opportunity to pull out one of the museum’s artifacts and let them see it close up. The object I chose was a photo album, circa 1908.
Getting that old feeling back
I was reminded how powerful that the tangible object is. The album fascinated the children. Many of them had never seen one before. And the concept that a person who was on vacation would create this to preserve their memories was bizarre.
I then showed them how I take an object like this and transform it into a digital medium. Although I had a large screen projector, the children still kept going back to the real object.
Once again – I am reminded of how powerful the real is. No matter special the digital experience can be it must be rooted in something tangible.