Lady in red…

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The visitor of the week has somewhat of a personal anecdote, but focuses on a charming leittle lady who was part of a group of senoir citizens from Charlottesville
touring the museum. This charming and petite lady was dressed in a fire engine red outfit and a classy matching hat, and walked with a cane. Somewhere during the tour, she mentioned a Curtiss airplane, and I said we do not have any here, but there was a Curtiss air museum in upstate Ne York. She replied that she knew of it, and that she was from Penn Yann, N.Y. I asked her if she knew of the name “Warder” of Geneva, N.Y. (which is just a few miles from Penn Yann , Senator Warder having been wife’s father and 18 year State Senator from N.Y. She said she must have left N.Y. before the Warder name became known to the public.

So, I recounted this story to my wife, who said that her family went back to 1876 in Geneva. She said to me “do you think that lady left before then! ?”

Wants his money back! (duh)

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The benefits of technology are far reaching, as expressed in an experience with a couple from Hampton, Va. who were visiting the museum for the first time!  (can you believe it?)   I said, “let me show you the treasure that exists in your own “back yard”.  I gave them the usual 3 minute greeting and an overview of the museum via our new innovative slide presentation.  Which, if you have not experienced it, is a brief docent manually controlled slide showing several views highlighting features of the galleries of the museum.  After I had finished this greeting and slide presentation, the gentleman said “may I get my money back?”  With astonishment, I remarked “why would you want that?”  He said.”well, I feel like that we have just had a TOUR OF THE MUSEUM”, His request for a refund was in jest, of course.  Naturally, I was pleased with the acceptance and reception by this greeting delivery.

Once again, the joys of being a docent continue with each passing day.

No TV, I'm fine

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I recently gave an educational tour to second graders from Stonebridge School in Chesapeake, Va.  We are in the International Small Craft Center, and I am explaining to them about the Sampan boat from the Far East.  This boat would be used for a water taxi or small cargo, (like a UPS driver) and that the boat was like a houseboat for the family.  I explained that the family gathered back in the boat for the evening.  I asked them “what did the family do for entertainment?  Did they play Scrabble or Apples-to-Apples or watch TV?”  They remarked “no TV!”  At that point, a bright little boy said ” I DON’T HAVE A TV, AND I AM FINE!”  At that moment, I felt like Art Linkletter!

Just another example how being Docent/Educator can be fun and surprising!

Visitor Experience – The Library of Congress

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I recently had the pleasure of greeting ladies from The Library of Congress, (Juretta, Susan, & Kris) who were in town for the Virginia Forum at Christopher Newport University.  They had  been to The Mariners’ Museum on Thursday for a meeting and dinner and had time for a small sampling of the treasures of the museum. They decided it would be a good opportunity for a further look.  They were especially interested in The Monitor Center, and I was pleased to provide them with a few of the in-depth aspects of the center and the historic Battle of Hampton Roads.  I also gave them a view of our new and innovative slide-show highlighting the other galleries.  What a joy to have real scholars who are interested in what the museum has to offer.  I expect to see them on a return visit in the future.

Visitor Experience – Seeds of History

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When I give school group tours, I always tell the students that we can only see a part of the museum, and that they should come with their family and spend more time, as there are lot of great history related things to see here. Recently, I was giving a tour to some 5th graders from Williamsburg, and gave them the usual welcome back and bring their family.   The next day, on a Saturday, a young student came in with his mother, his soccer practice having been  rained out.  He and his mother co-mingled in the tour I was giving with some adults, and the young student seemed to know all the answers to the question inter-play.  I said “have you been here before?”.  He answered that he had been in my school tour the day before!

Some where along the line the “seeds of history” had been planted. What a nice feeling!