Working at AMNH

The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s preeminent scientific and cultural institutions. 

Since its founding in 1869, the Museum has advanced its global mission to discover, interpret, and disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe through a wide-ranging program of scientific research, education, and exhibition.

Celebrating Education


Education is central to the mission of AMNH since its founding. Over 5 million people visit the museum every year, and access a wide variety of education materials from downloadable apps and hall guides for special exhibitions, to programs and classes that illuminate what makes our Natural World so amazing.

Hall of Ocean Life – wikipedia commons

One of the largest museum education departments in the country, AMNH’s education team specializes in different audiences and communities at home and internationally. I was honored to be a part of the Youth Initiatives department – serving children grades 6 through early college in programs and internships at the museum.


My Role as Manager

Over my ten years at AMNH, I have played the part of classroom support, project manager, staff supervisor, anthropology educator, teen mentor, materials organizer, animal handler, and even bathroom monitor when it was needed. As Manager of Middle and High School programs I was responsible for programs that saw thousands of young people in NYC every year – from audiences of four hundred or more who attended public lectures in science aimed at Middle Schoolers, to supporting one-on-one mentoring for the interns from the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. Each program offered unique, memorable experiences for the public. We pulled this off with an amazing staff, whose commitment to education, equity, and community made the museum such a unique place to learn.

Below are some of the programs I was responsible for as Manager, with links to learn more.

image of children bending over large crates of dirt with digging tools
Middle School Archaeology Program – Personal photo

Tweens

Created for children grades 6-8, these programs ranged from single afternoon experiences to a three-year after school program for youth committed to practicing science. My programs were:

Middle School institutes

One to two-week long day camps focusing on hands-on learning in different Natural History subjects, ranging from Computer Programming for understanding Climate Change, to uncovering the secrets of archaeology and human evolution with hands on digs and video game models of Neanderthal extinction.

SciChats

Experiencing the latest in scientific research in a fun, creative way, these short programs were centered on a lecture from a visiting scientist in a middle-school friendly format. Followed by an extensive guest Q&A, hands on activities, and snacks.

Science Alliance Program

This exclusive program accepted 45 students from a pool of applicants entering the 6th grade. Participants attended weekly after school programs over the course of 3 years, graduating in the spring of 8th grade and having gained significant understanding of Biodiversity, Physical Science, and Anthropology.

image of teens listening to a person talking over a table full of scientific specimens.
Teens learn about collections from a scientist – Personal Photo

Teens

For Teens in New York City, AMNH had a host of opportunities to explore their curiosity and passion for science from on-off teen only experiences to individually crafted in-museum programs created with school partners to supplement science learning in underserved public schools. I was responsible for:

After School Program

Free courses offered in the museum of NYC-based teens. Programs ranged from weekly two-hour sessions to 12-weeks of twice weekly programming.

Teen Sci Cafe

Modeled after the very successful “adult” SciCafe series, Teen SciCafe was the opportunity for teens to have the same informal lecture-based experiences as the 21-and-over crowd, only with soda instead of free wine.

School Partnerships

This program was an exclusive offer with public high school less than 45 minutes from the museum by public transport, serving a community of students that were majority low income and under represented in the sciences. These programs were crafted in tandem with schools to offer a unique experience for gaining science credits during school hours. Beyond a field trip – school partnerships were a close relationship between the museum, school administrators, and science departments in NYC DOE schools.   

a group of women gathered under a large canoe.
Interns and chaperones from CTGR – personal photo

Communities

Each Year AMNH hosts a group of interns from the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde. These teens visit as a part of the Willamette Agreement, a reparative relationship between CTGR and AMNH to share a religious object on display.

Interns spend three weeks in New York City, learning about the special role of the museum, the origins of the agreement, and participating in public outreach to teach the public about their history and culture.

adults at working computers while drinking coffee.
Museum Staff learning new software – person photo

Professionals

With over 100 full-time education department staff, AMNH relies on keeping their workforce trained, engaged, and adapting to best practices in the field. As a manager I worked with department directors to help implement trainings science education, including the Reflecting on Practice program in which AMNH became an East Coast training hub.

I also worked with National programs such as CHISPA through the National Council for La Raza to collaborate on after school teacher trainings in bilingual science education for NYC schools in Washington Heights and the South Bronx.

Working at Brooklyn Public Library

As the nation’s 6th largest public library system with a network of 60 Neighborhood libraries, BPL is committed to providing the borough’s 2.6 million people quality services and a vibrant learning environment through outreach programs, educational workshops and youth services events.

Central BPL Ranch outside of Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York – Wikipedia commons

Serving My Community

“Brooklyn Public Library is among the borough’s most democratic civic institutions, serving patrons in every neighborhood and from every walk of life. Established in 1896, BPL is one of the nation’s largest public library systems and currently has nearly 700,000 active cardholders. With a branch library within a half-mile of the majority of Brooklyn’s 2.6 million residents, BPL is a recognized leader in cultural offerings, literacy, out-of-school-time services, workforce development programs, and digital literacy. In a borough of wide economic disparity, where the costs of basic necessities often take priority over spending on cultural enrichment opportunities, BPL provides a democratic space where patrons of all economic standings can avail themselves and their children of cultural and educational programs in a broad range of disciplines.”

Source

The American Library Association’s 2014 Public Library Data Service Statistical Report ranked BPL third in the nation among public libraries for public programs offered and program attendance. In 2016, BPL was awarded an IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for museum and libraries, in large part due to the work of its Outreach Services department and its efforts to serve Brooklyn’s most vulnerable populations.

BCAP

Brooklyn Cultural Adventures Program (BCAP) offers summer programs for youth based on a collaboration of six cultural institutions in the heart of Brooklyn: Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Prospect Park Alliance and Prospect Park Zoo, plus our 2021 guest partner, Brooklyn Navy Yard. Adventurers take part in fun, hands-on experiences that weave connections between art, world culture, literature, history, nature, technology, and science.

Due to the ongoing risk of the coronavirus pandemic, BCAP will not be in-person this summer. We were sad to make this decision, but felt it was the right choice to make to ensure our staff, our campers, and their families are safe for years to come. 

We are excited to keep exploring the amazing cultural opportunities Brooklyn has to offer this summer in new ways! The BCAP team is currently planning some unique experiences for the summer of 2021, including virtual and in-person events.