Most of us understand that representation is powerfully important in museums and that history organizations have a clear responsibility to build diversity and inclusion in our exhibits and interpretation. Yet our institutions’ past collecting choices may not have been in sync with our current aspirations for inclusion. To bridge this gap and create the acclaimed exhibit #1 in Civil Rights the African American Freedom Struggle in St. Louis, Missouri Historical Society developed practical techniques and strategies for telling the whole story.
This webinar, presented by MHS’s Elizabeth Pickard, will cover the ACTivists museum theatre project, participatory field trip activities, interpreting the absence of objects, contextualizing little known episodes in our history for students, storytelling, and honoring visitor voices in adult guided experiences. Merlin Bell, an ACTivist Actor-interpreter and the Theatre Programs Assistant at the Missouri Historical Society, joins the webinar to share his perspective on the ACTivist museum theatre project and its impact on patrons and the community.
Cost: $40 members / $65 non-members
About the Instructor:
About the Presenters:
Elizabeth Pickard is Director of Education and Interpretation at the Missouri Historical Society where she has worked in museum theatre, education, and interpretation since 2007. She is the project lead for the ACTivists project, an interpretive theatre program that supported and continues the interpretation of the #1 in Civil Rights: The African American Freedom Struggle in St. Louis exhibit by presenting performances about leaders in the continuum of work for African American equality in the 19th and 20th centuries. She also led the creation of the Missouri Historical Society’s Teens Make History Program, a work-based learning program for teens that won the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award in 2014. Elizabeth is a fellow of the Shannon Leadership Institute in St. Paul, MN. She is a past president of the International Museum Theatre Alliance. Her degrees are a BA in Dramatic Arts from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and an MA in History and Museum Studies from the University of St. Louis, where she studied with Jay Rounds. Prior to moving to Missouri she was a Colonial Interpreter at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, MA.
Merlin Bell is an ACTivist Actor-interpreter and the Theatre Programs Assistant at the Missouri Historical Society. He is a graduate of MHS’s Teens Make History Players, a work based learning program for local teens who research, write, and perform plays at the Missouri History Museum. He has a BA from Denison University in Theatre, and a MA in Theatre from Fontbonne University. Merlin is a native St. Louisan who is proud to be telling compelling stories that happened in St. Louis to all who come to the museum.