Last week in my thesis proposal defense
I was informed that my program director had a dream in which my new thesis statement came to her. Here’s what they are recommending:
"Living History museums like The Farmers’ Museum must expand their missions with programs like Let’s Move to meet the changing needs of their communities. Because of their focus on growing fresh fruits and vegetables living history farms are ideal venues for programs that address childhood obesity."
My tweaks are as follows:
"Agricultural and living history museums like The Farmers’ Museum must expand their missions with programs like Let’s Move! to meet the changing needs of their communities. Because of these museums’ focus on local agriculture and foodways, they are ideal venues for programs that address childhood obesity."
I changed the language away from purely living history, because I want this to be more broadly applicable. I also didn’t really like the phrase “fruits and vegetables”, because although I understand the usage in terms of healthy eating, most ag museums show more grains and livestock than fruit trees. Other than that, I like the framework. I like the statement about
What do you think?
My day with the Shakers
Monday, as part of my “thesis research week”, I crossed the border over to Massachusetts to visit Hancock Shaker Village. It was a gorgeous day for the drive. Mid 70’s, lots of gorgeous foliage, I even saw (and barely avoided hitting) a flock of wild turkeys.
I arrived at the museum at around 12:30. The first thing I did was to hop into their cafe to check things out. It is a seated cafe with maybe 2 dozen tables. The menu looked amazing. Part of the Let’s Move requirements is offering healthy food service options, so I was excited to check it out. I am really glad that I did. They had a fairly easy menu, salads, sandwiches, soups, and a daily entree. The day I was there, it was chicken pot pie. I got their chicken and beet salad, which was absolutely fantastic. Grilled chicken, beets, chevre, and tomatoes over field greens with balsamic vinaigrette. For $8. It was awesome.
After lunch, I had a meeting with the museum’s Director of Interpretation and Public Programs. He was great, and even though he was really busy he took over an hour out of his day to walk me around the museum and explain how they are involved with Let’s Move. And to be honest…they are and they aren’t. It was really interesting to see. So much of the programs principles were already a key part of what the museum does, they signed up without really changing much. The biggest addition to their program is a CSA that they now run, although that had been in the works for a few years. It led to a good discussion about how a museum run CSA manages visitor expectations about meat. Do you tell them that the lamb chops they get in their basket are the cute adorable baby lambs they were petting the last time they visited? So far, they have only given eggs and vegetables, but are hoping to expand over the next year.
Beyond the CSA, the best the that the museum offers are hiking trails. They have a beautiful setting, surrounded by the hills and currently great fall foliage. They have 2 different trails, one of which is “accessible”, meaning in theory you could get around it in a wheelchair. The other trail is a partnership with the state forest next door, and is more of a hiking trail than a walking trail. I went for a stroll along the walking trail, and it was gorgeous. They had nice interpretive signs along the way explaining how the Shakers used the resources that came from the forest.
All in all, it was a really great trip. Their involvement with Let’s Move is extremely subtle; you can’t find a single reference to it online, though once I pointed that out he said he would change it. It is so much a part of what they already do, it didn’t need to be a big huge change. I am really excited to see how I can take what I learned and apply it to my museum.