Q&A with a Museum Explainer

One of the many ways to volunteer at The Corning Museum of Glass is through the Explainer program. Open to teens and college students, candidates who are accepted to the program train from February through June to learn the art, history and science of glass. In the summer, Explainers are found throughout the Museum giving youth tours and providing hands-on experiences in the galleries.

Today’s post comes from Kim Price, a former Explainer who learned not only about glass, but also leadership during her time at the Museum:

Kim Price

Kim Price

What was your experience as a teenager in the Museum programs?
I started volunteering at the Museum (through the education department – Explainers and Families Explore) at the end of my sophomore year of high school as part of the International Baccalaureate program. Even though I dropped that program three days into my junior year, I loved working at the Museum, and started training to be an Explainer for the following summer. I learned so much during the training program. We had wonderful lessons each week from Kristy and/or a curator. But when the next June rolled around, and it was time to start working, I still wasn’t sure I could do the job. (Which leads me to the next question…)

What, if any, skills did it help you develop?
Until I began working as an Explainer, I was painfully shy. But eight hours on the American cart (cut vs. pressed glass) will cure you of that quickly! It’s in the very job title — you have to explain things to Museum visitors — I finally had to speak up. I learned so much about public speaking that summer (and the following four was employed there), both through sharing information on the hands-on carts and giving tours to school groups. My third year there, Kristy started the “Senior Explainer” program, and I learned how to be a leader. The other Explainers would look to me for guidance. I coordinated, managed, and problem-solved. And it was a fantastic experience. I also got to do quite a few Hidden Treasures tours with adult visitors to the Museum, and I very much enjoyed that and miss it! (I’ve been thinking about doing the docent program at some point because I miss it so much!)

What did that experience mean to you?
Being an Explainer at the Corning Museum of Glass was really the jumping-off point for everything I’m doing now. I went to college for journalism, and have worked for Star-Gazette, The Leader, and Life in the Finger Lakes magazine. If someone had told me early in high school that I’d soon be conducting interviews and writing articles, I would have thought they were insane! But the Museum’s education programs really made me come out of my shell and prepared me for future opportunities.

What are your plans for the future?

I recently became the Communications Manager at the Steuben County Conference & Visitors Bureau. I’m taking journalists on tours of CMOG now! I truly believe I would not have been able to do this job had it not been for the Museum’s Explainer program. I grew so much as a person during those six years I was involved with the Museum’s education programs. And for that, I’ll always be grateful.

For more information on the Museum’s Explainer program, visit http://www.cmog.org/get-involved/teen-programs/explainers

Application deadline: December 9

Open to candidates who will be at least age 16 by late June 2012.

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CMoG Teens are the Museum’s teen volunteers, Junior Scientists, Explainers, Junior Curators, and Teen Leadership Council (TLC). You’ll find them at the Museum during the summer providing hands-on experiences and answering questions about glass and glassmaking, and during the school year learning about the science and art of glass.

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