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Lives of Museum Junkies: The Story of America's Hands-On Education Movement Paperback – August 2, 2016
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The Amazon Book Review
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"What the book does so effectively is not only discuss the appeal and behind-the-scenes activity of interactive science museums but also place them in a larger political and educational context. The best passages of the book focus on the relationship between interactive learning and a more traditional public school education. What Mrs. Eichinger suggests is that these two educational systems can compliment each other, with interactive learning picking up where underfunded and overburdened public schools fall short. Here, Mrs. Eichinger is able to draw from her wealth of experience, and it's in these passages that her informal, anecdotal style works best, relating personal insights that engage the reader in much the same way she's been delighting museum goers for decades." - Manhattan Book Review
"Picture a museum in your mind. Did you imagine exhibits, roped-off bits and bobs from history meant to inspire, amaze, and educate, but always out of reach? Even today, this idea of the museum as the look-but-don't-touch institution persists. But there is another way. For decades, hands-on education has sought to break down the barriers between exhibits and visitors, allowing interested minds of all ages the opportunity to interact with exhibits, to learn firsthand by experiencing scientific principles in action. And Lives of Museum Junkies chronicles the long journey behind bringing science and museums to your fingertips.
Marilynne Eichinger uses her story -- the story of how the Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing, Michigan, was brought to life -- as the framework upon which to mount an encouraging, inspiring tale of dedicated people forging their own path and establishing something new and exciting for their community. This is the story of hard-working, generous, driven people starting from scratch and building something unique, valuable, and hands-on. From marketing and sharing one's brand to expanding an idea on a national and international scale, the stories of Eichinger's work at Impression 5 and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry encompass all aspects of community building, starting a business, and shifting people's perceptions of just what can be accomplished when creativity meets commitment. Readers also get to meet other key voices and entrepreneurs Eichinger has worked with, people who have inspired her and who have helped blaze new trails for hands-on learning. These profiles bolster Eichinger's mission to lend credibility to the hands-on museum movement and show the many different paths one can take toward achieving success in ambitious charitable works.
Although the many benefits of this truly useful style of education are touted here, Eichinger refuses to paint a rosy picture of the process. The author never shies away from sharing the missteps, obstacles, and hard lessons encountered along the way, including a truly shocking revelation that typifies the gender politics at the time and the long legacy of gender bias in this country that still impacts us today. By pulling science and learning out from behind the glass and velvet ropes of traditional museums, Eichinger helped spark a revolution in understanding how we learn and how to engage (and re-engage) young minds in fundamental concepts of science. Lives of Museum Junkies is part tribute, part handbook, and part inspirational guide, reminding us once again that a small, dedicated group of people can change the world... because they're the only ones who ever have." - San Francisco Book Review
Honorable Mention in the 2016 Great Midwest Book Festival Awards
"Marilynne Eichinger has created a very worthwhile contribution with her thorough analysis of science museums. Her book will bring added interest to museums and what they can offer now and in the future." - Jean Auel, author Earth's Children series. * * * "Marilynne shares the experiences and insights of many who shaped the field, along with her personal reflections. Her engaging book will help you see science museums in a new light." - David Ucko, Museums+More LLC * * * "The book is very well written and easy to enjoy. This topic requires a "storytelling" approach, and it has been captured well. Those recognized in the chapters should be honored for your treatment of their many accomplishments. The book concludes with a valuable perspective on the future of museums. That future will be a function of the leaders who take to heart the many "lessons" that are offered." - Bud Rock, Executive Director Association of Science and Technology Museums. * * * "This great read tells the story of the beginning of science museums through the eyes of early pioneer Marilynne Eichinger. She includes lessons from her life and the lives of other pioneers in museums of experience. Recommended for those who care about museums, libraries and society today." - Ginnie Cooper, Past director of Washington D.C., Brooklyn, and Portland Library systems * * * "People interested in museums as real educational environments, parents interested in their children's education, and people seeking to find themselves in a positive way could all benefit from reading this book. I love the way the bios of major contributors are interspersed through-out-most thoughtful. A terrific story!" - Ronald C. Rosenberg. Professor, Associate Dean Emeritus, Michigan State University * * * "Marilynne Eichinger has embraced the past to give a lively behind-the-scenes description of the evolution of interactive science museums and why these science playgrounds should be part of your life." - Michelle Marquart, Past VP Marketing, Oregon Coast Aquarium; General Manager, Mount Hood Railroad.
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Although the emphasis in these stories is on the science and technology that the Cold War and the age of Sputnik and NASA moon shots propelled, the lessons so candidly portrayed are transferrable to today’s needs.
Individuals with visions for what’s needed today to engage the people and their governments in efforts to understand and respect all living things and the interdependent web of life upon which rich fertile soil, clean water, clean air, and nutritious food depend would find inspiration from the stories of the Lives of Museum Junkies.
Children and adults still need hands on learning opportunities and the freedom to play and discover their connections to one another and the rest of the living world.
Marilynne’s own story of creating Impression V museum in Michigan and becoming the Director of OMSI in Portland, OR, is fascinating. And the stories of other museum directors illustrate the power of passion necessary to reach goals and the web of connections created to make the museums possible.
Deanna Pumplin, friend and co-founder of Impression V museum.
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