I talk a lot about free opportunities to visit museums here. And if you stick with me, I will again later in this post. But first I wanted to talk about finding ways to support your local museums by paying for things when you can - like admission or special events or even buying things in the gift shop. I know you may know this, but just in case someone out there doesn't, I'm going to explain why. Museums are non-profit organizations, which means that although it may charge admission (sometimes a lot!), the museum puts all of its proceeds right back into the organization. Moreover, most non-profit organizations get the gross majority of their money from private donations. And because the economy is (still) hurting, non-profit organizations are also (still) hurting. So when you have the opportunity to check out a museum for free and you walk by one of those glass donation boxes, drop a few dollars in there. Or coins. Coins count. If you do, I believe some good karma will come your way.

Onward to the free stuff.

Next Monday, May 18 is Art Museum Day. I've spoken about Art Museum Day before, but as it is an annual thing, I'm going to talk about it again. On Art Museum Day, the Association of Art Museum Directors convinces museums across the country to offer free or reduced-price admission for one day. (Actual dates vary from institution to institution.) This year, some of my very favorite spaces are on the list and there are over 180 museums, galleries, and centers in all. Depending on where you live, you might even be able to check out two in one day.

Someday Walker Art Center, Noguchi Museum, and Crystal Bridges, I will come visit you. This year though, I'm staying local and heading to Laguna Art Museum to see it's Robert Henri's California exhibit. 

You have a few days to get your Art Museum Day game plan together. Ready, set, go.


Some Thoughts This Teacher Appreciation Week

This post is part of a promotion of Alter Your World, an Alt Summit project aimed at celebrating actions, big or small, that focus on good in the community.

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I'd like to take some time to talk about teachers and teaching. From time to time I like to do that. This is one of those posts.

Do you know a great teacher? Was there someone who made a big impact in your life? I was lucky because I had several - one in first grade, one in fifth grade, and one in high school. And as a teacher, I've had the opportunity to work with, and learn from, many, many more.

Today, I'd like to talk about one of those special teachers. She is using social media in her classroom and giving her students the opportunity to explore that space in a safe and meaningful way. Her name is Corie. She teaches second grade. Several years ago, Corie decided to incorporate Twitter into her social studies curriculum. Together with her class, she composes tweets and posts them to a private account, which can be seen by parents. The children share what they are learning about and in return, the parents ask questions. It's a thoroughly modern way to interact that is loaded with meaning. From the students' side, they get to share what they are interested in. On the parents' side, they get bite-sized updates about what their children are doing in real time. And then the parents can use these tidbits to fuel dinner table conversations. It's a win-win situation and a totally genius way to use social media in the classroom.

So this Teacher Appreciation Week, I wanted to say kudos to Corie and all of the other teachers out there who are using technology in innovative and creative ways. And if your child has a special teacher, I hope you'll find a small way to let them know how much they mean to your family this week. Need an idea? I have just the post for that. 



May, you are shaping up to be a very fine month indeed. Why? Well, my sister is coming to visit and also today is the first day of The Big Exchange.

And what, might you ask, is being exchanged during this Big Exchange? Culture, my friends, thousands of years of it. And art, too. Hundreds of pieces of it. Because during The Big Exchange, if you have a membership to one of over 20 participating museums in San Diego County, for the next two weeks you can go visit any of the other museums for free.

Lucky for me, I'm a member of not one, but two of these very fine institutions. You too can become a member for as little as $25 dollars a year.

So if you haven't been to see Lalla Essaydi at The San Diego Museum of Art, or Gravity and Grace at MCASD, or the Dr. Seuss exhibit at the San Diego History Center, I would say that now is a very good time to go.


LA Museum Scene: Museums Free-for-All

Cultural field trip alert! On Saturday, January 31, twenty-plus museums across LA County will offer free general admission to everyone. Now's your chance to visit Skirball Cultural Center, MOCA, LACMA, Pasadena Museum of California Art, SMMoA, USC Pacific Asia Museum, and many, many more for zip, zero, gratis!

So next Saturday, clear your schedule. No birthday parties for you! Because you have better plans, Southern California.

For more information on this year's Museums Free-for-All, head here.


O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!

One year ago, I was taking an official break from all things blogging. No posting. No Twitter. No Instagram. No Pinterest. (All inspired by this.) And this self-imposed detox helped me break some really bad habits for a while. (Although, I began to compulsively check my email.) One year later, those habits are back with vengeance. I check Instagram compulsively and yet, I hardly ever post. I read all the blogs, and it has been nothing but crickets here. I haven't looked at Twitter in months. Months! Sad really because once upon a time, Twitter gave me such glee. 

This fall, I started a new job (in administration) and signed up for college-level class. And it was all I could do to hang on. I stopped cooking and started buying Amy's again. I stopped looking for fun new exhibits to check out and stopped going to museums. Obviously, I stopped blogging too. I come from a long line of anxiety-prone people. Although my homework was minimal, I worried about it All. Week. Long. Lots of folks have talked about seasons in life. The past six months or so have not been a blogging season for me. Some day I'm hoping to wander back and post regularly again. In the meantime, I'll be cheering all of you on via Instagram, Pinterest, and such.

Cheers and Happy Christmas.

The Museum Scout


Educator Open House Season in San Diego

Educator Open House Season is in full-swing here in San Diego. (Non-local friends, I'm sure your cities have something similar. You're just going to have to do a little research to find them.) But if you're teaching or administrator-ing in San Diego, I'm going to make it easy for you: There are three open houses coming up in the next three weeks and they are all free to attend. First up, Wednesday, October 15 at The San Diego Museum of Art; followed by Thursday, October 23 at the The New Children's Museum; and finally, Thursday, October 30 at Mingei International Museum.

Each of these events requires advanced registration. So if you'd like to go, make sure to RSVP at least a day ahead.


Museum Passes at San Diego Public Library

One of the first things I do when I move to a new city is sign up for a library card.

I didn't grow up an avid reader, but I've grown into the role as I've gotten older. And my local public library helps make my reading hobby more sustainable.

Anyway, as a proud library card holder, I was thrilled to discover that SDPL's Central location downtown has family passes to several local museums (like this one and this one and this one) to "check out." 

That's genius.

For more information on SDPL's "Check It Out" Family Museum Pass program, head here.
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