I am a museum nerd. I work at an art museum and I love museums of all kinds – art museums (of course), history museums, house museums, science museums and on and on. Whenever I travel I search them out… and sometimes they find me. Over the past week I travelled to Boston for a wedding and much to my elation the wedding took place at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum, a cool little car museum. During the trip I made the time to go to three museums and found myself getting excited each time I saw a road sign, map marker, or billboard advertising another museum on my journey. It was when I found myself swooning over a billboard for a Zippo museum that: 1) I realized I need to get this museum fascination thing under control and 2) I began wondering exactly what is it that makes my heart skip a beat whenever I see a museum.
Then I had my aha moment. It’s curiosity. Museums not only allow me to explore my existing curiosities (such as art museums), they also allow me to build new curiosities and discover things about the world that I may otherwise never be interested in or exposed to (did you know there was a car built in 1906 that included a drawing room and a toilet?)
The capability of museums to spark our imaginations, new interests, questions and curiosities is not only exciting but essential. Tony Wagner author of The Global Achievement Gap, lists curiosity as one of the Seven Survival Skills for today’s students. Wagner states that employees “have to be new and improved knowledge workers—those who can think in disciplined ways but also those who have a burning curiosity, a lively imagination, and can engage others empathetically. Clay Parker, the president of the Chemical Management Division of BOC Edwards states “I want people who can think—they’re not just bright, they’re also inquisitive. Are they engaged, are they interested in the world?”
Regardless of whether it is at an art museum, science center or your local historical society get out there, go to a museum and be curious.
Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.
-Jessimi Jones, Educator for Teacher and School Partnerships