By Gina Musick, Education Intern for Summer Tour Plus 2016 Program via Summer Travels: Into the Land that is Japan \(^.^)/ — Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
Hello everyone! My name is Gina Musick and I am a new volunteer, but as a seasoned Morikami member and Elementary Education major in college, I saw an amazing opportunity in front of me when I read about a posting for an Education Intern for their Summer Tour Plus program. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like – a tour! A wonderful tour where both docents and volunteers come together in order to create a fun, interactive, and educational experience for visiting camps of all ages into the land of Japan in South Florida.
Imagine visiting another country for almost the whole summer with nothing but the clothes on your back…without leaving your home state! “Impossible!” is what some may say, but that’s exactly how it felt for me. Walking up the steps to the museum alone is a stunning view, surrounded by a preview of the gardens and a small koi pond. Morikami creates a one-of-a-time experience that children of all ages and backgrounds are able to participate in.
Here is what a day in the Summer Tour Plus 2016 program looked like:
1. Japanese Game Show: the volunteers engage the campers in a slideshow of various Japanese tools and objects, guessing their true meanings of utility, after watching a clip from a real live game show!
2.Art Gallery Tour: the docents give the campers a unique and peaceful tour of Hiromi Moneyhun’s paper cut exhibition, where they learn about her unique art style and its main elements – metamorphosis and symmetry.
3. Shadow Art: Kirigami: the volunteers teach the campers how to create the own paper cuts (known in Japanese as kirigami)! The campers use scissors and hole-punchers to create unique designs and patterns into their canvas’, which is a moth – a strong representation of both symmetry and metamorphosis.
4. Docents’ Choice: the docents choose an activity of their own discretion to educate the campers about! For instance, during the week of the Star Festival (also known as Tanabata), which occurs on July 7th, the children learned about the history behind the festival and wrote a wish on a strip of paper attached to string (known as tanzaku) and then tied them to a bamboo tree for the wish to come true! Click here to learn more about Tanabata.
Each camp that visited Morikami participated in all four of these activities at some time or another during their day. In each rotation, the campers were motivated and supported by volunteers and docents alike to pursue a passion in learning to appreciate the very diverse and beautiful culture of Japan. The Summer Tour Plus Program created by Morikami strongly reflects the museum’s mission to the community…”to provide authentic Japanese cultural experiences that entertain, educate, and inspire.”
I thoroughly enjoyed my volunteer experience as a summer intern at Morikami, as it was everything I expected it to be and more! It was amazing to see children of all ages and cultural backgrounds learning about a very historic and unique culture through different activities, and excel at participating in every way. Such a successful experience does not go without thanking all of the staff, docents, and volunteers involved in creating such an enriching and lasting experience!
Morikami is always looking for volunteers to help out on a day-to-day basis, as well as for festivals or a variety of programs. During the time we waited for the camps to arrive, we volunteers would work on creating decorations for upcoming festivals. We made paper chains, tissue paper flowers, and paper lanterns all to help prepare for the upcoming Lantern Festival: In the Spirit of Obon! If you have a passion for education, culture, or anything Japan, I highly recommend you take an opportunity and offer your time to this amazing non-profit institution. You will receive a timeless experience for the time that you give! Click here to find out about your possible opportunities~! \(^.^)