December 2021

Thank You Cynthia “Special Article Collection”

Read the full collection here.

This special article collection of the Journal of Museum education is offered in honor of and deep appreciation for Cynthia Robinson who is retiring as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Museum Education (JME) at the end of 2021. She has been an editor for the JME since 2010 and has overseen the publication of 39 issues! Her tenure has included the introduction of themed guest edited issues, new submission guidelines and categories for individual authors, and the move from 3 issues to 4 a year. She has advocated for additional paid staff at the Museum Education Roundtable who support the Journal, and has grown our pool of peer reviewers. She has been a tireless supporter of the JME, frequently using it as a core text for her museum studies students at Tufts University. She has contributed to countless thought provoking discussions on theory, practice, and trends in museum education that have helped to shape the Journal of Museum Education, the Museum Education Roundtable, and the field at large.

To reflect on and celebrate everything Cynthia has done to advance scholarship in the field of education, various current and former MER board members came together to create this special article collection. It is a peppering of our favorite articles over the past 11 years.  These 10 articles represent ideas, values, and practices that museum educators all over the world offer in order to make museums more inclusive, equitable, and engaging.  These 10 articles (and all of the articles that Cynthia shepherded over the years) also show the transformative power that museum educators can have when they support, celebrate, and champion each others’ work. Cynthia is just that, a champion, who uplifts the work of countless museum educators by helping them to publish and share their practice more widely.  These 2019 quotes from Cynthia’s editorial notes for JME 43.2 and 43.4 perhaps summarize her approach to the JME and ultimately her impact on the journal:

“The field of museum education cannot advance without sharing ideas across museum types, across geography, and across time. Time is an essential component. In our work we draw upon writers and thinkers who came before us – sometimes by decades and centuries. We are able to access their ideas because they wrote them down in books and articles. We owe the same to those who come after us. Indexed and archived journals like JME provide platforms that allow for discussion across time and space in a way that more temporal platforms, like blogs or conference presentations, do not. Do join in – the field needs to hear from you.” – 43.2

“One of the joys of both visiting museums and working in museums is that each museum is different and unique. We don’t want to clone museums, and we don’t want to create formulaic, cookie-cutter approaches to on-the-floor teaching. But we do need to increase the size of the pool from which we pull ideas and techniques, perhaps by linking all the separate little ponds into one connected waterway, and also by taking responsibility to add our own ideas and techniques to the pedagogy pool.” – 43.4

Thank you for growing and connecting our ponds, and challenging us all to advance, via scholarship, our collective and beloved profession. This is our Thank You note to you, Cynthia!

Compiled by Mariruth Leftwich (former board member) and Sarah Sims (former board member).  With help from Amanda Thompson Rundahl (former board member), Brooke DiGiovanni Evans (former board member), Emily Potter-Ndiaye (current board member), Kim McCray (current board member), Lynn Baum (current board member), Michelle Dezember (current board member), Nathaniel Prottas (staff co-editor), and Taylor Jeremos (current board member).

Selected Titles:

    • “Gallery Educators as Adult Learners: The Active Application of Adult Learning Theory.” 41.1
    • “Race Isn’t Just a “Black Thing” – The Role that Museum Professionals Can Play in Inclusive Planning and Programming” 42.1
    • “Activating Diversity and Inclusion: A Blueprint for Museum Educators as Allies and Change Makers” 42.2
    • “The Cannon of the Web and the Long Tail” 42.3
    • “Sharing Lived Experience with Incarceration to Encourage Visitor Empathy: A Case Study through Conversation” 43.1
    • “Rooted in the Past, Active for the Future: Museums and Inspiring a New Generation of Citizen” 43.2
    • “Presence and Power: Beyond Feminism in Museums” 43.3
    • “They Ate Your Laundry!” Historical Thinking in Young History Museum Visitors” 43.3
    • “Constructing Knowledge Together: Collaborating with and Understanding Young Adults with Autism” 43.4
    • “Museums and Emotions” 42.6