Faculty conversations: Denice Blair
Denice Blair has the best of both worlds.
Because of a newly created joint appointment, she’s the co-manager of the Michigan State University Museum Education Team and an assistant professor in the College of Education.
“It’s a unique opportunity to work at the museum and have ties to the College of Education,” Blair said. “My goal is to make it possible for people to learn how informal education can complement what they learn in the classroom.”
Blair and her team also focus on visitors’ experiences.
“We are very interested in learning more about our visitors' interests and expectations,” she said. “I see the museum environment as a place where people learn from each other. We want to learn and grow together with our visitors.”
And that environment attracted her to museum work.
“The Museum environment is amazing,” Blair said. “I might go to a business meeting in the morning, work with a group of fourth graders in the afternoon then walk upstairs to see the bucket of baby turtles my herpetologist colleague has brought in that evening. Where else can you do that?”
As an added bonus, Blair can walk out of her office and immerse herself in the museum exhibits.
“I don't think you can be a museum educator without having a sense of humor,” Blair said. “Learning is not supposed to be serious all the time; it's also about having fun.”