On Monday we closed for our semi-annual maintenance and cleaning day. Staff teams were tasked with painting, exhibit repair, and floor resurfacing jobs and we’re happy to report that all were a big success.
In addition to our maintenance tasks, we also took place in a staff development exercise as part of the Cultural Competence Learning Institute (CCLI). Staff were broken into teams of 2-4 and had to draw attributes to create a customer profile and visited the museum based on that customer’s characteristics. Profiles were created by drawing cards that corresponded to an ethnicity, an obstacle to visiting the museum, and the number of children in the visiting party. Attribute examples included: African American + Deaf + Children ages 2,7,8 and Syrian Refugee + Paraplegic + Infant (10 months) and an angry 13 year old. In order to really get into character, Amada Senior Care loaned us a wheelchair and walker. So huge thanks are in order for Kevin & Kelly Fehr for helping us to complete this hands-on exercise!
From this training exercise, staff gained a new appreciation for the way that visitors from different backgrounds experience the same exhibits and programs. Some groups were able to easily check-in and begin their exploration while others had trouble communicating with the staff at the front desk. After an hour of time to evaluate the museum all of the groups came back together to evaluate their experiences. They were asked to list the three best exhibits for their character profile and the three biggest red flags. While some consensus was achieved, there was no singular exhibit that was a perfect experience for all of the groups. As a result, each staff member has been asked to come up with three achievable ideas to complete by the end of the year. These goals will be shared with the group at our next staff meeting and three will be selected for implementation before January.