Thursday, December 8, 2011

MTS on Tumblr

Thanks to the database/web team, we have a new tumblr site! Keeping checking this blog for updates on our process but keep an eye on the tumblr for news, research, and program profiles about Teen Programs across NYC.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Brainstorming and Action Plans

The latest re-cap from Billy: For the past several weeks, MTS has been moving all around town. Our first stop was El Museo in Harlem. After the programmer's meeting, we went straight to work, reviewing all the questions given to us. We established a structure to divide up the work: a communications team, database/research team, and events team. One or two people established themselves as team leaders, making sure all tasks were being accomplished, and several "floaters" freelanced projects from two or more of the teams. Our method of finalizing a decision? Quick discussion then vote!

Next week, we headed over to International Center of Photography in midtown, where we were given a quick walk-through of ICP's school, filled with fancy darkroom equipment and printing centers. We even had a surprise visit from a curator! After we immediately jumped back onto our projects and started brainstorming. Each team started to develop a list of tasks and goals to be done within the next week or so. Communications worked on a facebook group/page, twitter account, google site, and outreach to school coordinators. Events began planning the ins and outs of a community event. Research produced a criteria for teen events, listed events to attend, and planned a tumblr and google docs to convey finds. 

 The past Wednesday, MTS gathered at the new Children's Museum of Art over in West Village where we were given a tour of their awesome new space. We ran through a thorough check-in with the progress we've made over the past week. Events planned Saturday community days, which latched onto already planned teen events: Brooklyn Museum on December 3rd in conjunction with Free First Saturday and Whitney Museum of American Art on December 10th on an artist drop-in event. We established a structure for these meetings: socialize, special learning, activity, announce teen programs, and chat with programmers. Communications began on their social networking pages where they will post event updates and share info. Finally, we wrapped up this intense meeting with a list of ideas for the programmers at CMA to help launch their new programs. Go team!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meeting with the Teen Programmers

Suzanna's report on our meeting with the NYC Museum Teen Programmers: Two weeks ago, we were fortunate enough to be invited to present at the Museum Teen Programmer’s meeting at the Rubin Museum. This was the first time teens were asked to come to the meeting that affects and determines the programs we participate in.

After all the programmers and Museum Teen Summit members got situated in the conference room, MTS got to right to work. First some remaining alums of the summer MTS session gave a brief summary of what we did this summer- the museums we visited, the questions we discussed, the research we conducted- which led to the continuation of MTS into the fall. Then three of our new members described what we did in first meeting of the fall session and some of the goals we set: outreach, community, inform. Next three more new members talked about how we plan to approach these plans for the future. To end the presentation we opened the floor to questions. Silence… It was clear that the Museum Teen Summit meant business.

Finally the programmers began asking questions and an incredible discussion began. Some of the comments and ideas that stood out were:
  • WORKING TOGETHER- That this meeting between the Teen programmers and MTS not be a onetime event; that there be constant communication and interaction between the two sides. 
  • ONE CENTRAL LOCATION FOR MUSEUM PROGRAM INFO- The programmers seemed to universally want a database on which the MTS review and give feedback on the different programs. What works? What doesn’t? 
  • ATTRACTING MORE TEENS- Specifically getting more non-art loving teens involved. How do we do that? Through advertising on social media sites, ex. Facebook? Using MTS members as advocates to outreach more teens? 
  • DIFFERENT MUSEUM=DIFFERENT ISSUES- Not all the institutions are the same, therefore they have different problems and different ways for MTS to help fix those problems and improve the museum’s situation.
After the great meeting with the Teen programmers, MTS came together and discussed what we do now. We realized how much the museum Teen programmers need us and how much work ahead we must do to help the programmers and also accomplish our goals for this session. It’s time to get to work Justice League!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The first few Fall sessions of MTS... according to Adora!

Do you want to know what we’ve been up to this fall, here at the NYC Teen Summit? In the past two weeks, after getting to know each other and what our mission is, we’ve done some major brainstorming! Ultimately, we’ve discussed how to improve teen programs in our museums and others across NYC. We’ve discussed how to attract more teens like us, teens that are our complete opposite, and teens that are simply just in between. In between laughs and attending a teen programmer’s conference we’re getting some pretty solid ideas. We know many of you are dying to know what our strategies are to increase the success in our teen programs, so talk to us to us if you want to know more. Like MTS on Facebook for more updates!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

...and we're back!

After a mini-break for some beach time, college move-in dates, and the start of school, the Museum Teen Summit is back in full effect.  And we're growing! Members of this summer's program have decided to extend the program into the fall AND to expand our team.  So we're looking for new members. We'll be planning some monthly teen-museum-meet-ups, leading workshops at local and national conferences, and helping museums connect with a wider audience. Interested? Apply now.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Check this box

Last week at Eyebeam, we took over their computers to create several online surveys so we can learn more about the relationship between teens and museums.  Help us figure it all out by filling out the surveys that relate to you:

  1. Suzanna and Billy are curious to learn about Teen Councils at museums, so this survey is for anyone who works as a teen programmer in a museum. 
  2.  Jannath is on the prowl for information about outreach strategies, so if you're a teen programmer, do this one too.
  3. Abiel wants to learn more about how educators/tour leaders decide what to show teens, so this is for anyone who gives tours/teaches teens directly. 
  4. Jack wants to know about what teens want.  Are you a teenager?  Fill this one out. 
  5.  Jonah is curious about who goes to which museums.  Anyone can fill this out AND share with friends!              
Help us spread the word...the more responses we get, the better our results will be.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Thinking, Making, & Sharing @ Eyebeam

Walking into Eyebeam, we were greeted with a digital banner: THINK. MAKE. SHARE.  It couldn't have been a more perfect tagline for our day. After a behind-the-scenes tour with Stephanie, inspiring chats with artists Taeyoon Choi and Andrew Demirjian, and a detailed discussion of the logistics of documenting the digestive process, we took over Eyebeam's open studio space to turn our projects into reality. Here's a snapshot of some of the questions we're exploring:
  • Abiel is curious about how educators decide what artwork teens like and if the time period or culture of the artwork matters.
  • Daniel wonders if people really get the point of a museum.
  • Suzanna and Billy are eager to figure out if teen councils are useful AND how non-education museum staff feel about working with young people.
  • Joygil wants to know what the obstacles are to letting young people curate exhibits.
  • Jannath is going to solve the outreach dilemma by figuring out how best to communicate with teens.
  • Chloe and Jack are taking two different angles to figure out what teens are really looking for in museum programs.
  • Jonah is analyzing demographic connections between age, interest, education, and location and museum preferences.
  • Isabela is trying to pinpoint the assumptions people have about museums.
  • Joe is working on a mini-documentary about teens in museums.

We've had three weeks of thinking about these topics, several hours of making mini-surveys and interview plans, so it's about time we shared.  Stay tuned for survey links both here and on our facebook page.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Jannath Gets It Done

Today we visited the Brooklyn Museum. After being given a short viewing of the museum, specifically at a mummy we got to work. We headed up to the boardroom to get started on our project. We came up with questions we'd like to explore that concern museums.
 It is still very broad but this brainstorming and planning will get us ready for the next steps of interviews and coming up with solutions for our big puzzles. I think the Justice League has a lot of work to do but we are the best of the best so we can totally get it all done!

 By Jannath Ahmed

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Emanuel: The emotional impact of a museum

(Visual created by Museum Teen Summit Youth)

How do you create and develop a relationship between museums and teens?

A museum needs to communicate to the teens a strong sense of its identity. What difference can it make in a teen's life? They have to see each other frequently for this to happen. This allows for more opportunities to make mistakes and learn from them. Both have to work together for the project to work. They have to listen to the opinions and suggestions and for this to happen you need respect and recognition. It's also important to offer teens something that they can do. Teens get told what not to do all the time: don't drink, don't go out late, don't do drugs, don't hang with those people. Offer them a new kind of freedom, one that empowers them. For my part I'm trying to see how you can get an emotional impact out of an experience with a museum because that's what we all remember. You need:
  • identity, both parties need to recognize who they are
  • respect, they have to listen to opinions and suggestions
  • freedom, an outlet or alternative in their lives
By Emanuel Pichardo

Friday, July 29, 2011

Jonah on the welcome mat at El Museo

It was the first time for many of us at El Museo Del Barrio. Personally, I fell in love with the institution the moment I read the large quotation above the entrance. The "welcome mat" reads " a museum is a school: the artist learns to communicate. The public learns to make connections." This statement made me feel engaged since it aligned with my personal opinion regarding museums. I was impressed with the amount of educational programs the small institution supports. I guess El Museo really is more like a school than a museum.

By Jonah Bleckner

While we're on the subject of love for El Museo...check out this fun video on the (S) Files Bienal currently on view.
El Museo's Bienal: The (S) Files 2011 from EL MUSEO DEL BARRIO on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Brandon & Gauguin ask the hard questions

Welcome to the Justice League! (aka the NYC Teen Museum Summit Week 1)

 To quote the title of Gauguin's tour de force "Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going", last week teens tried to answer this question as it pertains to museums roles in society. Are museums simply a repository of objects and spaces preserved for future generations? Or can they be something different, a force for change? Marit Dewhurst led us through a riveting discussion of these questions and more as we tried to define the term "museum" and found ourselves mired in ambiguity. A particular emphasis was placed on the importance of the youth perspective. As potential museum educators and curators of the future it is our onus to ensure that we continue to build new bridges, different outreach approaches, and attract teens into the museum world. Museum education has a unique opportunity to provide supplementary and alternative spaces for education. As teens we can impart our experiences to shape those of future generations. by Brandon Eng

Monday, July 25, 2011

Top ten list for teen programs--what works

Last week, the NYC Museum Teen Summit made a trip to El Museo del Barrio where we were lucky to meet with Education staff members, Mairelys Alberto and Meghan Lally.  After falling in love with the new Bienal, The (S) Files and discussing how artists depict identity in their work, we headed outside for a hot brainstorming session. Since El Museo is in the process of ramping up their teen programs, we spent some time telling them about the most profound pieces of our own museum experiences.  

Here's our working list of 10 things that make teen programs shine (psst, museum educators, listen up): 

  1.  1. Learn about different priorities in different departments by meeting staff in communications, marketing, curatorial, etc. 
  2. Discuss hard-to-understand, conceptual art.  Dig into the artworks that everyone else says are too tricky. 
  3. Let youth put our own opinions into our work.  Don't tell us what to do/think/make.
  4. Make art
  5. Opportunities to teach other young people. 
  6. Trust young people to make decisions.  Don't just try to inject knowledge into us. 
  7. Work with living, breathing artists
  8. Give young people real projects to work on in the museum.  No fake exhibits, scaled-down tasks, imaginary events, or artwork that no one sees. 
  9. Create career pathways where we learn job skills and can move up in the museum.  We're happy to start at the bottom, but create spaces for us to grow. 
  10. Provide a variety of ways to be involved: drop-in, multiple-weeks, leadership programs, social programs, etc. As someone said on Wednesday, "Teen Programs: it's not just an after school special."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Museum Superheroes

With powerhouse youth leaders from so many museums working to transform museums for future generations, we've started calling ourselves the Justice League.  Too bold? We don't think so.

But what can we offer?

Halfway through our first session, in the midst of a discussion about the purpose of museums, Daniel from the Brooklyn Museum posed an excellent question: "I looked at the mission statement for this program and I have a question: If museums already have all of these smart people who've studied museums forever working to make museums better--what can we offer that they can't?" Three hands shot up. Emanuel, from El Museo del Barrio replied: "It's like how if you ask a 5-year-old and a 12-year-old what they want to do for a day, you'll get really different answers.  We can offer museums a different perspective on the same questions because we haven't been studying this for forever--our ideas are fresh.  They can help people who work in museums see things from a different angle." Joseph, from the Whitney chimed in: "Plus, we're the experts on what young people want." Fourteen heads nodded in agreement.

 In the first session of the NYC Museum Teen Summit, the conversation ranged from the role of museums in society to the power of Boards of Trustees over the "voice" of an institution!  Responding to a satirical (and mildly snarky) Pinky Show episode, youth leaders began to debate their own definition of a museum: Does it have to collect art? Does it need walls? Who gets to say it's a museum? (images coming soon!). We took these questions and applied them to collaborative collages about the role of museums in society.  After speed-drawing, writing, and magazine-cutting, we had an impressive exhibition of images...all of them with audience, community, and interactivity at the center. What can we offer?  How about a revolutionized vision of museums? Not bad for day one.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


15 Teen Leaders from 13 different high schools representing 12 museums for 6 weeks of art, investigations, and leadership activities across the city... starting in 1 day!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Are you...

  • curious to learn more about how museum education works?
  • interested in meeting youth from other museum programs?
  • eager to share ideas about how to make teen programs better?

Join a group of teen museum leaders from across New York City for a special summer institute to explore what’s so great about teens in museums and how we can create stronger programs for youth in the future. 

Through art-making activities, field trips, and conversations with museum professionals, teen leaders will learn how to creatively evaluate teen programs and will collaborate on a web-based project to share their ideas about teen programs in museums.

Sound good?  Talk to your Teen Programs Coordinator about being a nominee and apply here.