Museum Teen Program How-To Kit

Museum Teen Program How-To Kit

Walker Art Center

Museum Teen Program How-To Kit. Photo: Kameron Herndon. Courtesy of Walker Art Center.

October 4, 2023
Museum Teen Program How-To Kit
A free publication available now
Museum Teen Programs Symposium: November 17–19
Walker Art Center
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Minneapolis, MN 55403
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The Walker Art Center has released the Museum Teen Programs How-To Kit, a free publication available now on The How-To Kit offers a collection of reflections, conversations, and essays on cohort-based teen programs at museums paired with resources and instructions for applied activities. Consisting of contributions from museum teen education professionals from across the United States, this publication by and for educators can be used as a tool for navigating the unique challenges of facilitating impactful creative youth development in museums. In celebration of the publication, the Walker is hosting a three-day symposium November 17–19, gathering museum workers, teachers, and youth workers to share ideas and experiences in person. More information is available on; please indicate your interest in attending here.

Available via a limited print run distributed by the Walker and as a downloadable PDF on the Walker’s website, the How-To Kit is free, thanks to generous support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Walker was one of the first museums to work with teens as a distinct audience group and has leveraged nearly 30 years of experience toward better resourcing educators working in cohort-based teen programs in museums. The How-To Kit represents a culmination of that work, responding to the gap in arts education; while there are academic case and impact studies on teen learning in museums, few resources were available that considered the experience for educators and staff members who support the complex social-emotional needs of teens. This publication aims to better equip staff facilitating that meaningful process.

The publication features contributions from Michelle Antonisse, Lauren Bína, Dr. Kendall Crabbe, Jorge Espinosa, Araya Henry, Jo Higgins, Lyra Hill, Marie Hofer, Amanda Hunt, Melissa Katzin, Adreas Laszlo Konrath, Savannah Knoop, Jeremy Kreusch, Stephen Kwok, Devin Malone, Molly McKinley, Grace Needlman, Nancy Nowacek, Sean J.Patrick Carney, Nohemi Rodriguez, and Alex Chung Vargo. All contributors facilitated or played a part in cohort-based teen programs.

Following a similar format across institutions, teen programs invite roughly a dozen teens to meet regularly at museums, learn the behind-the-scenes, and do projects directed by the participants’ interests. At the Walker, the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) works with a new group of students from grades 10–12 each school year to create opportunities for the Twin Cities teen community to experience the Walker. Throughout WACTAC’s lengthy history, members have developed exhibitions and events to showcase teen artists, invited resident artists to give talks and lead classes, developed marketing materials and strategies, written and published original work for print and online, planned regional film festivals, and partnered with local groups to present programs throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul. Teen participation brings a special vitality to the Walker, and WACTAC has helped its alumni attain scholarships and audiences for their work, secure curatorial and educational positions, and use their organizational and arts advocacy skills in their colleges and home communities.

To accompany the How-To Kit, the Walker is hosting a three-day symposium November 17–19 designed for museum workers, teachers, and youth workers. The symposium will explore ways that staff working with teens in out-of-school settings meet the varied needs of youth with empowering experiences. Programming begins with a panel featuring Mimi Ito, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning, and director of the Connected Learning Lab (CLL), University of California, Irvine; Julio Cammarota, Social Justice and Critical Youth Studies professor, University of Arizona; and Stephen Kwok, curator of public engagement at Dia Art Foundation, New York. On November 18, attendees are invited to register for two workshops that further examine the complexities of working with young people in arts institutions, one led by Stephen Kwok and a second by Simona Zappas. The weekend culminates with site visits to creative youth development organizations across the Twin Cities. Those interested in attending can sign up to receive details. 

The Museum Teen Programs How-To Kit was published by the Walker Art Center and edited by Simona Zappas, youth programs manager, Walker Art Center; Nisa Mackie, Edward John Noble Foundation Deputy Director of Learning and Engagement, Museum of Modern Art, New York, and former head of Public Engagement, Learning, and Impact, Walker Art Center; and Dr. Yolanda J. Majors, founder and CEO of the Hurston Institute for Learning and Development, Minneapolis.

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October 4, 2023

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