The Children's Museum MAG

By Suzanne Henry, Newton, MA

   When I was younger, I used to visit the Children's Museum with my family. I can remember climbing into the giant teacup, peering through the large sunglasses and playing on the oversized red telephone. I had fun exploring the grandparents house and pretending to be a newscaster. Coming home, I always had many new pictures for the refrigerator, tops to play with and various other goodies. I'm sure that many people who have grown up in the Boston area have similar memories of this unique place.

Now, every Saturday morning I hurry through downtown Boston. I don't need to follow the little blue signs with the milk bottle on them because I have traveled this route so often. The giant milk bottle is closed until summer, so I walk by with hardly a glance. Once I am inside the building, I stride up the wide stairs past the second floor admission desk. Then, I slow down as I weave my way through groups of children who slept at the museum as part of the "overnights" program. I quickly climb one more set of stairs to reach the third floor. Barely glancing at the doll houses, I cross the "Hall Of Toys" and pull open a door marked "Staff Only." My coat and other belongings are placed in my locker and I put on the red apron (there are different colors depending on your job at the museum) with my name tag and all the other pins that seem to gather there. While exchanging greetings with other teen interpreters and some adult interpreters and floor managers, I grab a bottle of cleaning fluid and a rag.

My first job each week is to clean a designated area (for instance, right now I clean the "Hall of Toys"). At 9: 30, I put the rag and cleaning fluid away and hurry to morning meeting. Here we learn about new activities and where we will be from 10 to 11 and from 11 to 12. Occasionally we play museum Jeopardy or just fool around and socialize. At 10 the museum opens to the public.

Each hour I work in a different exhibit area. With a half-hour off for lunch, the time goes quickly. There are different activities to do in each space and everyone has his or her favorites. I like to work in the "Japanese house," "Playspace" (an area for children 4 and under) and "Clubhouse" (with activities for those between the ages 9 and 15). When I am in the "Hall Of Toys," I like to organize the treasure hunt. I also enjoy many of the special "Celebrations" projects. During the winter months, there are many holidays and various programs and activities. Through these fun projects, adults and children alike are exposed to other cultures. I have learned about many interesting holidays such as Kwanza, Winter Solstice, Nikomo and the Japanese New Year.

Two o'clock comes all too soon. I hate to leave the kids who have entertained me with their ideas and stories. I have as much fun working at the museum as I did visiting when I was younger. Still, I pass once again through the "Hall Of Toys" and open the door marked "Staff Only." I hang up my red apron on one of the pegs and take out anything that I put in my locker. After saying goodbye, I make my way back down to the first floor. Stepping outside, I leave the museum, looking forward to next week. n

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i love this so much!


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