FC: The Schiele Museum of Natural History and the James H. Lynn Planetarium Does a Program Suffer from Outdated and Worn Exhibits?
1: Mission Statement: “To promote awareness and appreciation for nature, and to instill a sense of individual and social responsibility for the diversity of the natural world and the role of humanity in it.” The Schiele Museum of Natural History and the James H. Lynn Planetarium are a one of kind facility in the greater Charlotte Area. Located in Gastonia, NC, This museum has been a mainstay for visitors for over 40 years.
2: I have visited several times and feel my analysis of their programming and its movement toward the future and planning for a digital world is a critique with objectivity that is related to my studies thus far.
3: The museum is two parts in structure (Planetarium and Museum) and deeper layers include permanent, specialty and living exhibits. The Planetarium is the only one of its kind in all of Charlotte and surrounding counties and boasts the actual night sky that has not been seen as a pure black with sparkling pinpoints of light for more than 100 years gets you a few light years closer.
5: The museum has several interesting if not aged exhibits. Situated in several halls, the collection spans Natural h Habitats, the Dawn of Earth and Man, conservation, NC Natural History,the American Indian and living and interactive outside exhibits. The programs are geared towards school groups for the most part that invite traditional, home school, and private schools.to participate in a myriad of programs. If you are not among those groups everything there is self-directed. If we take into consideration and I apologize for continuing to refer to Falk and Dierking’s theory of Free=choice-Learning the aim of this museum's programming does not seem to focus on a visitor attraction plan based on any understanding of visitor identity outside of school groups.
6: If we are to base our evaluation of a museum program on the outcomes learned; regarding skills that defining mission-minded pedagogy, and the move to meet the challenges of a technological world, this museum falls a bit short. My criticism is more involved with presentations than the ideology as the exhibits are not interactive and it feels like a classroom lecture when the tours are taking place.
7: The education program for school aged children are age approbate and home school groups are welcome to be part of a traditional class, There is a teacher checklist that organizes a visit based on time frame and program requests and they do offer teacher workshops in the way of program renewal credit. However I could not find any offered at the time I was there or on their website.
9: My evaluation strikes first at the education presentation priority. I asked. does the museum live up to its Mission Statement? Are learners understanding the intent of the programming in a way that meet with the current interest of todays youth in mind? In a social environment that should be recognized in the context of what is current I think this museum could make some changes that would transform the experience of the visitorr in a positive and educational manner.
11: Priorities? Develop low=cost fundraising objectives Update exhibits Promote beyond the small tri-fold brochure at the door. Increase interest with advanced web technology Incorporate technology inside the museum audio, video, and interactive aspect to programs Increase adult programs Add community based programs like a Book Club or Moms Day Out.