Tim can help take your institution to the next level by working with you to strategize. He can provide one-day or multiple-day or long-term consultations with a written report that summarizes recommendations and conclusions. Or, he can work with you on interpretive planning to decide which stories your site should tell.
- Critical appraisal of exhibitions or visitor experience at your site—What works and what can be improved? How can exhibitions or your site become more accessible physically and intellectually? How can audience evaluation methods be applied at different points to improve learning and visitor experiences? Tim assesses current exhibitions and suggest ways to transform them into more active learning environments.
- Exhibition and Interpretive Development—Will your exhibition be accessible physically and intellectually? Is it an active learning experience that reaches a variety of learners? Is it relevant to the target audiences? Asking important questions like “so what?” is important at the beginning of the process. Tim gives guidance by thinking through an exhibition’s or historic site’s conceptual framing, big ideas, main messages, overall themes, audiences, and learning strategies. Tim recently wrote this Exhibition Planning Guide for the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.
- Relevance and Historical Thinking—How can your institution become more relevant to your audiences? Tim incorporates historical thinking skills into programs and exhibitions to promote why history is an important foundation for the present.
- Education Programs—Whether assessing your entire education portfolio or developing programs for targeted audiences or just one audience, Tim can offer guidance for a variety of educational programming formats ? On which audiences should you focus limited resources? Tim can develop a strategy to engage audiences.
- Hands-on Learning—What are the opportunities and challenges in hands-on learning? Hands-on learning is a perfect way to reach multi-generational audiences and make content compelling on many levels. Tim helps to create hands-on activities for visitors of all ages.
Note: If you are considering including any of the above components in a grant proposal, Tim is happy to work with you to craft compelling language.
Tim leads workshops that are customized to fit schedules and class sizes. They usually include small and large group exercises. He offers workshops on the following topics, but is open to discussing your needs.
Making history relevant, making your content relevant—What does it mean to be relevant in today’s world? How can you position your content/collections so your work is relevant to audiences? What is the connection among relevance, value, and the public?
Creating powerful interactives—What makes an effective exhibition interactive? Interactivity is more than tactile or hands-on. Developing solid, thoughtful, mechanical and computer interactives requires an understanding of the foundational elements of learning. The result is an exhibition that engages and teaches.
Incorporating active learning into exhibitions—What boosts an exhibition to a higher level of learning and helps it achieve its learning objectives? Many exhibitions are passive experiences targeted to readers. The best exhibitions are intellectually accessible because they reach visitors with a variety of learning styles, creating an active learning environment that stimulates visitor curiosity. Active learning means allowing visitors to participate in the historical process, promoting critical thinking, and making history engaging and fun.
Training docents and front line staff—Your front line interpretive staff can make all the difference in a visitor’s experience. Docents volunteer for many different reasons, but they mostly want to share their knowledge with visitors. They can learn how to harness this passion and mold it into presentations that reach a variety of audiences of all ages, making their content accessible and more effective. This workshop is appropriate for docents or museum staff.
Thinking historically—What is the role of history institutions in teaching the historian’s toolkit? Historical thinking is the process by which historian’s study evidence, weigh validity of sources, and draw conclusions about the past. History museums and sites have a responsibility to help their visitors understand this process so that society may gain critical thinking skills and see the relevance of the past. What are ways to do this? How can your institution move toward a more strategic approach to incorporate historical thinking into programs and exhibitions?
Working with primary sources—What are the strengths and limitations of the various primary sources, and how do historians critically look at them to draw conclusions and form the big picture? What does it mean to think historically? Primary sources are more than documents. This workshop is especially appropriate for teachers.
Tim offers the following writing services.
- Exhibition scripts and interpretive panels
- Active learning labels
- Curriculum materials
- Education products such as family guides, website content, and teaching posters
- Children’s books