Stories from the Floor
Stories from the Floor is a way for our Discovery Guides to share their memorable experiences interacting with our visitors.
Today in Studio 5, I observed my new friend Arthur using a paintbrush in an interesting way at the Project Table. He seemed to be poking at the paint, instead of spreading it around. I asked him to tell me about what he was doing. He told me he was trying to uncover dinosaur footprints under the paint! He taught me that scientists looking for dinosaur prints need to be careful with their tools so we don’t disturb the fossils, which is why we needed to poke the paint, not spread it around. We spent the rest of the hour using brushes and our fingers to search for fossils. Wonderful imaginative play!
During Story Time on the Mosaic while I was reading “Not A Box,” I turned to the page where the bunny was in his “not a box car” and asked, “Where is this car going?” A friend chimed in, “To the Museum!”
I had a friend, James, in Studio 10 who was three years old playing at the magna-tile table with me. James was very interested in creating a fortress for astronauts. We proceeded to create this tower that would house the astronauts. James was very particular about this fortress. It had to have four floors, a chimney, and a slanted roof. Once the fortress was finished, James went on to create a spaceship.
I was working on stamping some animal tracks with a younger friend and we were talking about the animals that the tracks may have belonged to. He said, “This one is like next to the fishies.” I realized he was referring to the tracks on the ground inside Tot Spot next to the stream. It was nice to see the connections being made throughout the Museum.
Today I sat down with a girl and her dad. I asked about what she was working on because it looked like she was in deep thought. Her dad said she didn’t speak any English. So I continued working on my creation with some tape alongside her. After I taped a little she started to work on hers as well. I started to spell “WHY” and they noticed the “H” which was the first letter of the young girl’s name. She then made an “H” and an “A” on hers to start spelling her name. I showed her my name in tape which also has an “A” in it.
In Discovery Hall, I was “weaving” a basket with a young friend. He was admiring the authentic Native American baskets in the display so I asked, “What do you think they used these baskets for?” He replied, “They made them to look pretty, and maybe to carry EVERYHTING!” It was such an authentic answer that led to many more questions and stories about what “everything” might be.
I sat down to explore leaves, newsprint, and crayons with Ava, who was hard at work on a leaf print. She was closely examining the leaf which she just traced and I asked if it smelled like anything it reminded her of. She sniffed the eucalyptus, without responding just yet, and then shoved the foliage at my own nose. Then she said it smelled like outside. I agreed, adding it reminded me of dirt and earth. Ava then smelled each different leaf or branch saying one smelled like syrup! Ava’s mom later told me her grandparents lived in Connecticut in a cabin in the woods and they, the kids, loved being outside with them and exploring. I decided to do a bit of sketching, which fascinated Ava, who immediately started sketching a leaf of her own, complete with an all-orange backdrop.
Community Outreach Guide
During the map collage project in Art Studio 10, a girl who was about 3 years-old was really enjoying cutting up the map pieces into little bits. I sat beside her and we both worked on our projects. Utilizing the open-ended practices of the Museum, I said to her, “I notice you really like to cut these up into smaller bits,” to which she exclaimed, “I’m cutting coupons!” I said, “Oh, what are you going to do with all these coupons?” She replied, “Buy things!” I asked what she would buy with her coupons and she said, “Everything!” Her mother found this quite amusing and said they cut out coupons together every Sunday night. Her mom then helped her make an envelope out of paper to put all of her coupons inside. Then multiple kids around us started cutting coupons as well.
Summer Discovery Guide
I led an impromptu Imaginary Sailing Adventure-type game in Lookout Cove with several friends, ranging from ages 4 – 8 years-old. We fought sharks, turned into mermaids, learned how to walk again and encountered several storms. One friend warned us about approaching whales, while another described a fearsome giant shark with crabs for eyes and a smaller shark for a mouth. Our adventures led us to the Crow’s Nest, Shipwreck, Bonnie Boat, and all over Lookout Cove! Eventually, as I was bidding my new friends goodbye, they led me to meet some mermaids who turned out to be their moms. It was a great example of child-directed imaginary play.
Visitor Experience Assistant
I was in Art Studio 10 the other day, talking to a boy and his older sister about the pirate ships they were creating. The young girl, around 7 years old, was telling me about this “swirly thing in the ocean” that the captain had to be able to get across. I asked her if there was a monster in the middle of that whirlpool and she declared, “Yes! A dragon.” She went on describing this sea dragon and afterwards she said that the captain had to find a way to make the dragon laugh in order to cross the whirlpool. I asked how he would do that and she said he would turn his hat into a clown and the clown would make the monster laugh. We then made the clown out of pipe cleaners and used long green string as hair. She said that will make the monster laugh for sure. I loved hearing about how we had to make the monster laugh, though. It was a very creative alternative to defeating the monster before crossing a treacherous path.
On Friday, I met a 3 year old girl named Brianna in Imagination Playground. Brianna was trying to build a house, so I asked to join her. We both began to stack big rectangular pieces to make the walls of the home. Soon we started to attract other kids and we all worked on the home. After this structure was built, Brianna thought of an interesting game to play. She brought back three orange balls to the house we built and then began to toss them into the holes in the block walls. She was outside of the house while I was inside. We played a game in where we had to guess which hole the ball was going to come through. It was very intriguing to watch her thought process and to see how quickly she caught onto how to guess where I would throw the ball. In the end, we had a lot of fun and I enjoyed experiencing a new way to play in Imagination Playground.