Montshire Profile

Rachel Donegan, May 2012

How are you connected to the Montshire?
I am a science educator. I also manage the NASA Dynamic Earth project and the Dartmouth Plant Biology project, both of which include professional development for teachers, programming for visitors, and workshops for students. Much of my time is spent working on the School Partnership Program. So I spend a lot of time working with teachers and their students in area schools. Recently I worked closely with the middle school teachers in Barnet, Walden, and Danville, VT, on an Environmental Toxicology unit. The students designed, ran, and then presented their own research on a question about the effect of environmental toxins on plants. My work with the students helped me test a few new ideas, too.  

When was the first time you came to the Montshire?
I grew up in the area, so I was coming to the Montshire as a kid, when the Museum was still in a bowling alley in Hanover.

What is your favorite exhibit?
How about a favorite program? My favorite week of the entire year is the week of Aquatic Investigations Camp. I get to take a group of middle school students to ponds, streams, and marshes to explore habitats and the amazing creatures that live there. I love the kids’ personalities and the enthusiasm they bring to an activity such as seine netting or electrofishing. I come home dirty and exhausted every night. It’s great!

What do you wish everyone knew about the Museum?
That Montshire educators are out in schools nearly every day, helping students and teachers understand the scientific process and appreciate how fun science can be when it’s your own question you are investigating, or when you are tapping into your own creativity to find an answer.

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

What do you wish we could do more of in the future?
Well, it’s something we’re working on that I’m pretty excited about: having more programming for young people in the 10-13 year age range. Stay tuned.

What do you find most rewarding about working at the Montshire?
The people I work with are amazing; so many different skills and job descriptions, but everyone truly works together to make great exhibits, great programs, and to make the whole visitor experience wonderful. And I love talking with visitors at the Science Discovery Lab because everyone is excited to be there and eager to try something new.

What is your favorite Montshire story to tell?
During a VisitPlus workshop (a program for school groups) on amphibians, I had just finished explaining that red efts are bright orange/red because they are advertising to predators that they taste horrible. And no sooner had I finished the sentence, but a toad grabbed and swallowed the red eft. The adults and students at the tank and I just stared at the toad.  Then about 10 seconds later the toad spit the eft back out, unharmed.

Which other museums do you enjoy visiting?
Fairbanks Museum, Billings Farm and Museum, Children’s Museum in Boston. 



Montshire Museum of Science Engage the Senses