Thursday, July 28, 2011

Seen and Heard in the Galleries

When you work at the Museum you get the benefit of watching and listening to a wide range of tour guides from Holocaust survivors and former teachers to college and high school interns. They each have their own style and unique perspective that they share with visitors. Regardless of how many times you take a tour, it is possible to look at the artifacts in a new way depending on the interests and knowledge of your tour guide. One of our high school interns, Kaiesha, was happy to tell us about this cute moment she had recently in the Core Exhibition with a group of well behaved and enthusiastic 2nd graders.

I met my fidgety second graders and started the introduction to tour. We compared Jewish heritage to their own heritage and discussed what role heritage plays in their everyday lives. While in the first floor of the Core Exhibition, in the section about weddings, I explained how at the end of a Jewish wedding ceremony, the groom breaks the glass and the guests say “Mazel Tov!” Since they were 2nd graders, I invited them to act out the scene on their own. I was filled with great joy when I looked up and all my little visitors were wrapping their imaginary glasses in their imaginary cloths and placing them on the ground so that they could stomp on them. When my fellow apprentices and I were practicing our tours and attempting this, we felt silly, but the excited look on the children’s faces as they broke their imaginary glass and shouted “Mazel Tov!” and learned about Jewish heritage was priceless.

Photo from our collection of the Wedding of Nancy Roth and Dr. Wayne Weil in 2003Gift of Lois Weiss in honor of Sylvia and Aaron Rothenberg.

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