Celebrating Creativity and Culture in Education
By Audrey Jacobs

Bishop and

For over 6 years, I've helmed the wild ride that is museum education at The Heritage Center. The experience has been one part higher-ed-level learning for me, one part basking in the light of childhood creative discoveries, and one part herding cats. I am so grateful for this experience even as it is time now for me to move on.

My programming here is based on two pillars: active artists and our art collection; and what I've learned in working from these pillars has broadened my knowledge to a great degree. The Heritage Center, being small and agile, can respond to community programming needs and the strengths of the artists and educators who work with us. Artists lend their talents and perspectives to the learning that young people make in our spaces and to my learning too. One of the best aspects of working in this space is bringing in so many artists to interact with classrooms and visitors, showing by example and in myriad ways the vitality of contemporary and culturally-based Indigenous arts.

As my time here draws to a close, I've also been reflecting on the young people in creative spaces. They generate the magic of discovery in bountiful amounts. The role of the educator in an arts center supports these moments in every way possible, from the nuts and bolts planning to finding just the right question to ask a young person and providing meaningful feedback on their thoughts and creations. The young artists we interact with in the Center revitalize the work of museum education and co-creating with young people is a highlight of this job and a gift.

Red Cloud Priest performing confirmation on a young lady

The objects in this museum's collection range from the early 1800s to the current year and from coast to coast on Turtle Island. When we understand art objects to be primary source documents, we see that's a lot of knowledge. Even after half a decade of talking with artists and culture bearers, studying and discussing our collection, and reading texts, I have only scratched the surface of what knowledge this collection contains. I've only dipped my toes into constructing ways to help young people and the community "read" these artworks to access the ideas and histories that the artworks contain. Here, object-based learning is consequential and powerful.

This space, this role, and this community has enriched my life immeasurably. I hope I have contributed one-tenth of what I've gained from being here. Now I aim to move aside for the Center's next educator to learn, explore, and grow in this position, just as I have.

Are you interested in becoming The Heritage Center’s newest Museum Educator? Learn more and join us!


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