Story 05: Memoirs of a Bubble BlowerStory | Related Media | Archives | Print | eMail | Search
Written by Bernie Zubrowski
The 1954 landmark decision Brown v. Board of Education opened the doors to school desegregation, but it took many years to actually make it happen. Segregationists had claimed that neighborhoods determined the racial makeup of schools, and that discrimination was not intentional. Twenty years later, in 1974, when federal judge Arthur Garrity's controversial decision to end all Boston school segregation based on neighborhoods was handed down—and busing began—a significant opportunity opened up for museums and cultural institutions. At that time, legislators attempted to ease the transition by appropriating money for schools to draw on the resources of these community institutions. Museums could now offer extended field trips for students during which they were exposed in multiple sessions (sometime as many as eight) to specific topics in which the museums had expertise or special resources. At the children's museum, we offered a series of extended programs that combined physical science activities with natural history, cultural awareness, and art programs. Although some collaborative planning took place, individual content areas were guided by different people, resulting in independent, parallel efforts. I was still able to function fairly autonomously.