Meet Emilie Parker! She is the director of education at The Rosenbach.
Her path to museum education started early. “I fell in love with art history right after the first course I ever took.” With some guidance from a family friend who worked in the museum world she focused on museum education. “He helped me decide that museum education would be a better fit for me than being a curator. Curators are often behind the scenes and my interest was in working with people, specifically young people.” She gave her first tour to a group of second graders at The Brooklyn Museum of Art and it was “life-changing. At that point I knew what I wanted to do.”
After finishing her master’s degree in museum studies at The University of Newcastle in England, Emilie worked at The Tate Britain before finding herself stateside again working at The Philadelphia Museum of Art as a museum educator, and eventually, the coordinator of teacher programs. Although she loved her time and experience at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, she found that in such a large institution with so many employees there was no need to expand past one’s extremely specific role. Wanting to experiment and try new things seemed more attainable in a smaller setting. Emilie started at The Rosenbach in the winter of 2008.
As our director of education, Emilie runs all of our children’s programming, which includes our Museum Adventures program for preschoolers as well as our school partnership programs. “Children have such an interesting perspective on the world. They don’t segment the world the way adults do and as a consequence they come up with such fascinating observations.”
During Museum Adventures, once a month, preschool-age children come to The Rosenbach with their parents or caretakers and sit with Emilie for storytime. They then are led through the historic house to find objects that relate to the theme of the story and lastly have snacks and guided playtime on the second floor of the museum.
The school partnerships happen over a series of months starting with Emilie visiting the children’s classroom and leading a discussion about what it means to be a collector, what the students collect, and why it is important to collect history. When the students come to The Rosenbach they have developed a sense of connection, with not just the museum, but with The Rosenbach brothers. “Once a school group came thinking they were going to meet the Rosenbach brothers and even sent the brothers thank you notes for the visit.” At the end of the semester the students give a speech about what they have studied at The Rosenbach before family and friends.
While we are out of the office Emilie has been hard at work creating curriculum-based lessons and hands-on activities for families with children in grades 3-12 to help them connect with The Rosenbach’s extraordinary collection of historic letters and rare books. These are available on our website.
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