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A Journey Through the Yard: Adapting our Scrap Yard Education Program for a new Audience

Posted on February 24th, 2020 by

This post was written by JMM School Program Coordinator Paige Woodhouse. To read more posts from Paige, click here!

JMM’s education brochure says that we will tailor our programs for your class. We mean it. We love an opportunity to create a unique program or adapt an existing program to better support your class.

For our current special exhibit Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling, JMM’s education team developed two programs – one for 4th and 5th grades and the other for 6th through 12th (you can read about it in my blog post from November, “Let’s Learn about “Scrap Yard Innovators of Recycling.”) But when 1st through 3rd-grade scholars from Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School wanted to experience our exhibit, we were up for the opportunity to adapt our program for younger scholars.

Students from Baltimore Montessori Public Charter school preparing to journey through our Scrap Yard exhibit.

We redesigned the program with some core learning objectives in mind. Our goal was to support 1st through 3rd-grade students as they learned about recycling in their classrooms. We wanted students to come away with an understanding of what a scrap yard is, what happens at a scrap yard, what materials can be scrapped, and why scrap recycling is important.

The original programs had students stepping into the shoes of historic scrappers and learning their stories. We adapted the program for younger learners as a journey through the scrap yard, meeting the technology and materials they might find along the way.

As students explored the scrap yard, they looked objects found in the yard, tried using magnets to sort metal objects, tested to see if they were as strong as a baler, and listened to some songs that mentioned scrap recycling.

We altered our original board game activity as well. As a part of the original program, students competed against each other to see whose scrap business would profit the most. Supply and demand played a major role in the outcome of this game. In the adapted program, students worked together to collect as many resources as possible. They made decisions together as to which scrapped objects to buy.

Students working cooperatively while playing our Scrap Yard board game.

Each object would be broken down to provide materials – plastic, copper, paper, and/or iron. At the end of their turns, students would add up to see which resource they collected the most. With their most collected resource, teams then brainstormed all the different things they would make out of the recycled materials.

Scholars’ ideas about new uses for their scrapped materials. These two groups had iron and paper as their materials.

Our team enjoyed the opportunity to adapt our Scrap Yard program for younger audiences. We were delighted by the creativity and innovative ideas students contributed to the game. We hope that they will share something they learned during their visit with their community.


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What sparks a Visit to a Museum?

Posted on January 30th, 2020 by

This post was written by JMM School Program Coordinator Paige Woodhouse. To read more posts from Paige, click here!

How did your last visit to a Museum begin?

I’m not talking about when you walked through the doors to the enthusiastic welcome of someone at a front desk. I’m talking about the moment you decided to go to a Museum.

For me, my last museum visit began with a with a gap in my social agenda. My parents were visiting us in Philadelphia for the weekend and I needed an activity to fill the gap between when the college basketball game ended and our dinner reservation. Enter the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A museum that I had been to before, and based on positive experiences, thought my parents would enjoy. It was a quieter, more relaxing activity compared to the high intensity of a live sporting event.

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Great Stair Hall and visitors in one of the galleries.

Museums are incredibility interested in why people choose to visit their institution. In fact, museums have done a lot of thinking about what motivates visitors to walk through their doors. Without diving too deeply into theory, scholars have identified a few different “categories” of museum visitors. A leader in the field, John H. Falk, proposed five identity-based categories – explorers, facilitators, professionals/hobbyists, experience seekers, and rechargers. (Interested? Learn more here or check out The Museum Experience by John H. Falk and Lynn D. Dierking or Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience by John H. Falk)

For example, my visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art was primarily socially motivated. I could be considered a facilitator, where the focus of my visit was enabling the experience, and learning, of my family.

A visit to a museum is deeply personal. Everyone has unique interests, motivations, and concerns. My family’s visit was also formed because of a positive previous experience I had and my interest in art and art history. Knowing what motivates you to visit the JMM isn’t about fitting you into a category. It’s about having a better understanding of your needs and how to support you during your experience. Learning about you, helps us tailor your experience. It helps us enable you to make connections to the stories we are sharing. Ideally, it also helps the experience continue after you have left our building.

Panorama with the Abduction of Helen Amidst the Wonders of the Ancient World. The Walters Art Museum. Acquired by Henry Walters with Massarenti Collection, 1902.

My next museum visit came from an evening conversation. My husband and I were discussing the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This conversation led to some google searches, which landed us on a Wikipedia page. On the page was a thumbnail image of a painting by Maerten van Heemskerck that portrayed the ancient wonders as the backdrop for the abduction of Helen by Paris. Intense searching to identify each of the wonders in this painting commenced.

The Second Floor of the Walters in the Chamber of Wonders, with Panorama with the Abduction of Helen Amidst the Wonders of the Ancient World hanging on the wall.

It was then that my husband realized the painting that we had never heard of before was the Panorama with the Abduction of Helen Amidst the Wonders of the Ancient World located at The Walters Art Museum. They have a great online collection with detailed information and even where the painting can be found in the Museum. We couldn’t believe that we are lucky enough to have this painting in our own backyard. Rather than look at pixels on a screen, we will be visiting this painting in person to continue our conversation.

So, what about your next Museum visit? How will it begin? What will motivate you?


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Can’t Get Enough of Scrap? We have a Website for that.

Posted on December 30th, 2019 by

This post was written by JMM School Program Coordinator Paige Woodhouse. To read more posts from Paige, click here!

I had the opportunity to be a part of a special project team for our Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling exhibit. This team was tasked with designing a website to complement the exhibit experience.

Our goal was to create a website that would allow visitors to continue exploring Scrap Yard after they left JMM. We did not intend the website to replicate the physical exhibit online, rather, to be an additional resource geared towards those who have seen the exhibit. It is for those who want to dig a little deeper into the technology, materials, history, and stories shared in Scrap Yard. We also wanted something that would allow JMM to share the stories that didn’t make it into the exhibit. With those goals in mind, our team set out and designed

The website launched the same day as our exhibit opening, October 27, 2019. The website team consisted of our Marketing and Development Manager Rachel, our Graphic Design Intern Ash, Hasdai and the ChangingMedia team, and myself.

The design of the website reflects the visuals that visitors experience while in the physical exhibit. However, the information is organized in a unique way. A critical step to website design is information architecture which creates the wireframe of the website. Or in simple terms, how the information is organized to create the desired experience for someone exploring the website.

The colors, graphics, and fonts should feel familiar to people visiting the website. 

The website consists of 4 sections:

>In the Yard. This section looks at physical scrap yards, what equipment is used, and the processes that take place in them.

>Trash to Treasure. This section explores scrap materials, how scrap can be used, and its value. This section also explores the scrap industry’s connection to conflicts.

>All Around Us. This section puts the scrap industry in context. It looks at the representation of scrap in popular culture and its relationship with the environment.

>Scrap Stories. This section shares full-length oral histories from people in the industry as well as other historical stories.

Through lots of research, writing, revising, more research, and more revising, our team created the content on the website. We learned a lot about the scrap industry while doing it. Here are three parts of the website worth checking out:

(1) In the scrap industry, different materials have special names, a “scrap shorthand.” This shorthand typically consisted of four-letter words. For example, in 1919 a scrap yard might receive a truckload of Dale, also known as No. 2 Copper wire. Maybe someone was selling skim, reef, and grow – or tin foil, zinc, and aluminum foil. Intern Ash created a game for the website using the scrap codenames in a fun way. Using the name generator, you can determine your randomly selected scrap code name and learn what it means.

My most recent scrap code name is Frank Tabor.

(2) One of the greatest catalysts for generating new forms of ‘creative destruction’ was been war. To expand upon the Creative Destruction section of the exhibit, our team created a timeline of conflicts and connections to the scrap industry.

While not inclusive of all wars, it is interesting to look at stories from the American War for Independence, Civil War, Spanish American War, Korean War, and some contemporary conflicts.

(3) One of the main reasons for creating the website was to be able to share stories from the scrap industry. The Scrap Stories section is home to full-length oral histories of people talking about the industry in their own words. For those who enjoyed listening to the oral histories in the exhibit, this section is for you. These videos and transcripts bring to life the experiences of contemporaries in the industry.

Nidhi Turakia from Allied Alloys LP in Houston, Texas is featured on the website.

It is impossible to fit everything about the history of the scrap industry into an exhibit. Our curatorial team did a phenomenal job. Creating this website, with my fellow team members, allows JMM to share some of the things that didn’t make it onto the panels, videos, and hands-on activities in the exhibit. It continues the stories shared through the exhibit’s selected artifacts, documents, and photographs. The experience of Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling doesn’t end after you walk out of the exhibit. There is much more to explore at


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