BY MATT SHORTALL
More than 30 college kids, many of whom are from Queens, are breathing new life into history for local kids at the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. As Museum Education and Employment Program (MEEP) guides, their job is to create imaginative guided tours for day campers through the amazing world of dinosaurs, birds, bats, lions, tigers, and more, adding a personal touch to their museum visit.
These kids work closely with museum scientists and educators exploring scientific content and learning valuable skills for working with and teaching learners of all ages.
MEEP participants are all between 18 to 21-years-old and are responsible for developing and presenting themed tours for visiting camp groups, and engaging visitors at educational touch carts in the museum halls.
In the first month, participants are responsible for learning the material given to them by content experts. This information is then used to create themed museum tours. Interns utilize this information that is found through independent research. During July and August, MEEP interns then present the tours that they developed in June to visiting camp groups.
Samantha Wong, 19, from Elmhurst, is a junior majoring in Biology at Hunter College. On her tour, she asks campers to open their ears to nature’s soundscapes as they visit singing whales in the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life and dueling moose in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals.
Christian Mercado, 20, lives in Fresh Meadows and is studying history and women’s studies at Saint John’s University as a senior. Drawing inspiration from his Peruvian and El Salvadoran background, Christian introduces campers to the creation myths of pre-Colombian civilizations and emphasizes the importance of cultural relativism in considering their customs. He is an aspiring attorney and has completed several internships in that field.
The museum’s youth initiative is made possible by the leadership contribution of the New York Life Foundation. The MEEP program for 2016 runs through Friday, Aug. 5.