WellesleyWeston Magazine

SUMMER 2012

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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✯✯✯ ate what others have achieved, and perhaps be inspired to do the same thing themselves, that type of storytelling interests people of all ages," Martin explains. That, according to Martin, is what the Museum does so effectively. "It is not your typical history museum," explains lifetime USS ConstitutionMuseum Trustee and Weston resident Patti McGlynn. "The curators have created living, 'wow' experiences from artifacts and extensive research about an event in time." Its signature exhibit, All Hands on Deck: A Sailor's Life in 1812, epitomizes the "hands- on, minds on" approach to learning, through which people of all ages and backgrounds can readily imagine the life of a sailor on board the Constitution. Based upon 10 years of pri- mary research into the lives of over 1,200 people affiliated with the boat—builders, crewmembers, officers—and cutting-edge study and observation of how modern fami- lies learn together, the Museum seeks to engage its visitors in conversation about this pivotal moment in American history. In so doing, it successfully transforms what has typically been an information gathering expe- rience into a social learning experience that transcends generations and educational back- grounds. "We make meaning and memories," says Sarah Watkins, a curator at the Museum. Short videos, games, life-sized character illustrations, and multiple hands-on replicas bring history alive. Written explanations are 71 ✯✯✯ concise—no more than 50 words. "Rather than dumbing down the exhibit, this discipline helped us to crystallize an event in time into its most salient points," Watkins says. Communication takes place entirely in the first person so that it is the sailors' voices that visitors hear, not those of the Museum's curators. "This transforms the Museum from being about something, to about somebody, and allows our visitors to readily discover similarities with oth- ers across time," Watkins explains. "In that way it makes history our story. " summer 2012 | WellesleyWeston Magazine

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