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Story 05: Memoirs of a Bubble Blower

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In Retrospect

Written by Bernie Zubrowski

As one gets older, hindsight helps us take the long view of past experiences and attempts to put these experience in a positive perspective. Working at The Children's Museum afforded me the opportunity to combine a variety of interests in a way that allowed me to build on past experiences in a productive manner. In an interview with Mike Spock, I summed it up: "...a great thing about the museum? I could work with kids, I could do design, I could do science, I could do art. It was a place where a lot came together, and I like to pursue all those interests." There are very few places where I could have worked that would have allowed me to proceed in the manner in which I did. Mike Spock, and managers with whom I worked—Elaine Heumann Gurian, Pat Steuert, and Jim Zien—created an institutional culture that gave a fair amount of leeway to people like myself and an ongoing support system that let us be creative. They deserve a great deal of credit for bringing this about and keeping it going for an extended period.

The Children's Museum culture attracted like-minded people who became professional colleagues and friends. We shared a common educational philosophy and pedagogical approach. In addition, the museum was at the nexus of a variety of educational and cultural programming that resulted in my meeting other museum and educational professionals. These acquaintances became part of my professional network and put the museum's work and mine in a broader local and national context. After years of developing and refining afterschool science programming, designing exhibits such as Bubbles and Raceways, and just being part of The Children's Museum, I ultimately received invitations to share my experiences and travel to England, Italy, even Baharain and India, as well as to a number of museums in the United States. Although I was not paid as much as I might have earned if I had continued as a scientist, or worked at more high-powered institutions, the benefits of working with this group of people more than compensated. I was fortunate to have worked at The Children's Museum during this very interesting and exciting time of its development.

Next: Sidebar: Statement of "Goals" in Doing Science Programming at the Children's Museum