Montshire Profile

Amy VanderKooi, February 2012

How are you connected to the Montshire?
I am a member of the education department. I get to do lots of different things, but the biggest are overseeing the Summer Camp Program, working with volunteer explainers, and teaching the Young Scientist course, homeschool programs, and school workshops.

Why do you choose to be involved?
I love teaching, science and museums. It is a great place to be.

When was the first time you came to the Montshire?
The first time I visited the Museum was when I interviewed for this job. I had been living in the Midwest and applying for jobs in New England I knew nothing about the Montshire when I applied. From the moment one of my future colleagues picked me up at the airport, until I left after a full day of interviews I knew it was a really special place. I so hoped they would hire me—and they did!

What is your favorite exhibit?
There are so many great ones it is hard to pick. But I think two favorites of mine are the Kalliroscope (sometimes referred to as the “big blue spin me” exhibit) and the Wind Wall on the north side of the tower. What I love about them both is their simple beauty. They bridge the world of art, nature, and science in such an amazing way.

What do you wish everyone knew about the Museum?
The Montshire really is a place for all ages to explore and learn. I had a great experience this summer while teaching one of the middle school camps. One of the campers came up to me and said, “I think you were my preschool teacher,” and indeed I had been his teacher when he was a preschooler in the Young Scientist program six years prior. The fact that he remembered things we had done in that class was a huge compliment! But it also highlighted to me that the Museum has opportunities for a preschooler to learn and explore, as well as for that same child years later as a middleschooler, as well as adults like me who still like to learn new things.

Is there one word you would use to describe the Museum?

What do you wish we could do more of in the future?
I would love to see a beautiful kinetic sculpture in front of the building giving visitors a taste of what they will find throughout the Museum.

What do you find most rewarding about working at the Montshire?
Two things. First, the amazing people the Montshire attracts.  There are so many great volunteers, summer camp counselors, interns and permanent staff. I am also rewarded daily by our visitors—seeing someone’s face light up as they discover something new at an exhibit or in a class.

What is the best kept secret at the Montshire?
Where the bowling ball is hidden.

What is your favorite Montshire story to tell?
There are some great stories involving the big red science truck that we used to drive to our school outreach programs. All I can say is I am glad I am a science educator and not a truck driver.

Which other museums do you enjoy visiting?
I make a point to visit both MOMA and The Museum of Arts and Design in NYC when I have the opportunity. I also think that the Monterey Bay Aquarium is an amazing place.



Montshire Museum of Science Engage the Senses