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Story 07: Managing the Organization

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Upon Arriving

Written by Elaine Heumann Gurian

When I arrived in 1971, Mike Spock had been director for nine years. He was well known in the Boston area and as well as in the national museum community. He had already created the great experiment of "hands-on" immersive exhibitions in 1964. He had planned, executed and opened the new Visitor Center in 1968. He had organized The Children's Museum into three distinct branches: Visitor Center, Community Services, and Teacher Services. The multi-media MATCh Kits project, which revolutionized school learning, had been completed and kits were circulating. The success of all these experiments had already made some powers in the museum and educational communities take notice. There were many families and classrooms of students who were already enthusiastically using the Visitor Center.

The museum that I walked into had a deeply embedded value system. The culture, with its openhearted way of doing things, functioned. A creative and industrious staff greeted me warmly. I was extremely pleased to be there. No previous work experience prepared me for this place.

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