Motor City Mayhem

By Dylan Livingston

Dylan visiting the exhibits at Horry County Museum

During this past summer, I traveled to Detroit, Michigan to visit my father and take a look into what he was working on for his job. Over the past year, my father was hired as the CEO of the Michigan State science center. One of my dad’s main objectives was to educate the public about how the racial and economic demographics throughout the Motor City made it how it is today. Although the museum’s calling card will be primarily surrounding science, my dad jumped on the project with massive intentions of teaching the public about the history and experiences of the people in the only American city to go bankrupt in the last 5 years.

My dad wanted to create a hands-on approach to educate youth within the Detroit Public School system about the city they live in. As upsetting as a city-wide bankruptcy is, my dad wanted to focus on its beginning as much as he wants to talk about what the city is doing and putting in place to change their misfortunes and make the Motor City boom like it once did. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure about his approach in terms of talking about the good and the bad of Detroit’s demise but after his explanation I was on board. My father described the entire experience as one big story that the youth of the DPS system could really get into. This got me to thinking about the endless possibilities that the project could bring to these children.

Image result for detroit skyline
Detroit Skyline

My dad wanted to make an interactive story providing a taste of a game similar to “The Game of Life” where the children would be presented with a small playing figure and they would progress them through their lives until they were hit with the reality of bankruptcy. The children were to be guided around a large room with different stations that represented different events that were to take place within their lives. They could choose their car, schools for their children, jobs they picked to work in and so on. The age range for students going through this game is targeted at around 10 to 15 years old.

As the game was to carry on and the lives of our made-up characters progressed, my dad wanted to gradually incorporate a failing economy in the student’s salaries at work and price of groceries in the store. As the children are beginning to notice small changes, it was my dad’s hope that a few students would take leadership roles and try to figure out the problems, only to amp up the experience and introduce the actual bankruptcy. As the bankruptcy takes hold it’s the goal of the exercise to teach a little about money, problem solving and coming up with a solution; similar to Detroit using creditors to help bail themselves out.

This exercise was very appealing to me because I knew it would make the students think and help them learn about their great city. Using interactive approaches, especially with younger children, gives them a reason to stay engaged while also having fun in the process of gaining everything, losing everything and then learning how to recover. I hope there are more interactive approaches to centers of history, science and art as they give the patrons of the facility a different experience and a great way to learn.

The Structure & Organization of Museums and Historic Houses

By Morgan Condrey


Morgan at the Horry County Museum

When you walk into a museum or historic house you always note the cleanliness as well how everything is in a specific order or place. Both are known for their attention to detail in regards to both the exhibits as well as the official structure of the operations. So what keeps these places organized, and how are these institutions structured? We will discuss this throughout the blog post, as well as touch on the importance of museums to society.

The way a museum structure is set up involves several tiers of jobs and bosses. The first and most job is the museum director; museum directors are also known as museum curators. The museum director/ curator is in charge of overseeing the storage of the museum’s collections that it displays. They are also in charge of raising funds to keep the museum running in tip top shape. In a sense the director is the backbone of the museums and oversees most all of the operations that take place in or in reference to the museum they work for. The next job while working in a museum is the education portion, the people who work in this area of the museum have an important job as well. The educators come up with good information and transfer that information to the public in a way that is deemed exciting and informative. The education portion of the museum is in charge of creating the tours of the museum that everyone finds so exciting. The next section of the workers in the museum are the tour guides and such. As in their title they are responisible for the execution of the tours designed and made up by the educators of the museum. They walk around the museum and inform the public of all of the information on the exhibits within the museum. After the tour guides we have the marketing and communications portion of the museum staffing. This area is the central point of distributing information to the public about the museum as well for the museum. This particular area promotes exhibits, events, the donations, as well as other important goings ons around the museum through strategic marketing and advertising.

blogtierAlong the way there are other important jobs that are done by everyday people such as the janitors, the people who work the front desk, and other smaller areas. As a child your schools and parents probably took you to various museums. Whether it had been an art, historical, science, or any other science museum it is not always why they exist.

From my prior knowledge museums are here to inform and educate the public in a wat that is also entertaining! It is the job of public history and museums to almost “trick” people into being educated about a topic or idea. Lots of time museums will make education fun by making it interactive or perceiving said information in a way that makes the public interact and learn.