By

Stephanie Downey
As a staff, we have noticed the slow by steady upswing in the number of museums doing and requesting evaluation over the years.  While evaluation was uncommon in the museum world 15 or 20 years ago, today many, many museum professionals are enthusiastic advocates for evaluation and view it as essential to their work.  Ultimately,...
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I recently had the pleasure of participating in an online forum called Interactive Café, sponsored by the National Art Education Association (NAEA) Research Commission.  For a week, I exchanged ideas virtually with my co-hosts, Olga Hubard of Teachers College Columbia University, Michelle Grohe of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Benjamin Tellie of the Charles...
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As Randi has shared in some of her posts, we at RK&A value the concept and four actions associated with Intentional Practice—Plan, Align, Evaluate, and Reflect. A few weeks ago, Randi wrote about Align, which she noted is the most complex. Today I write about Reflect, which is probably the most alluring of the four...
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As we move further and further into the digital age, museums hold something that is becoming a rare commodity—real objects and artifacts. It may be hard to believe, but one day, many tangible objects may be obsolete, the way that printed photographs and airplane tickets are becoming scarce items. Instead of going on “digs,” future...
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I would like to dedicate this post to Alan Friedman, who passed away on Sunday. I wrote this blog post last week before I heard the news of Alan’s illness. In retrospect, it seems absolutely fitting that I honor him by telling the story of how I went from someone ambivalent about science to someone...
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Over the years there have been pivotal moments in which we at RK&A tried something out-of-the- ordinary to meet the needs of a particular project that then became a staple in how we do things.  It wasn’t always clear at the time that these were “pivotal moments,” but in retrospect I can see that these...
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My life as a museum evaluator preceded my life as a parent, and over the past 15 plus years, I have learned a great deal about child development, family learning, and parent-child interactions in informal learning settings.  I know what I know from academia (Piaget and Vygotsky), from classic studies on family learning, and from...
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I love a good story.  Who doesn’t?  It’s how we humans make meaning—we construct narratives to explain and interpret events both to ourselves and for others.  Think about the number of stories you tell or hear in a day, even the mundane ones.  It’s a way to form and sustain connections with others and to...
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This week, I’d like to begin to hone in on the idea of measuring impact that Randi raised in our first blog post.  We define impact as the difference museums can make in the quality of people’s lives, and measuring it can be both exciting and intimidating.  Exciting because just about every museum professional I’ve...
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