Thursday, February 11, 2016

Museums and Fair Labor Practices

Fair wages, living wages, the CEO pay ratio, unpaid internships, short term contracts, unbiased hiring, outsourced work—labor issues are front and center in our field. TrendsWatch 2016 (which will come out at the end of this month) tackles labor trends in general, and the implications for museums, but no need to wait for our report to wade in. Today’s guest post is by Alistair Brown of the Museums Association, who briefs us on how these issues are playing out in the UK. I am particularly intrigued by the Living Wage Foundation and its voluntary compliance program. Perhaps it is a model for the US?

If you found yourself on Trafalgar Square in central London during summer 2015, you would likely have seen staff from the National Gallery out on strike, loudly denouncing the museum’s management.  The 400 National Gallery Assistants were locked in a bitter dispute for most of 2015 as they attempted to prevent the National Gallery from outsourcing their jobs to a private global security firm.

The strike was an inconvenience and an embarrassment for the Gallery, one of the UK’s great cultural institutions, which had to close some galleries to the public during the strike action. But for the gallery staff, it was a struggle to maintain pay and conditions, and their role as valued employees in the face of the seemingly unstoppable force of privatisation. Finally, in October 2015, the staff voted to return to work, having secured some concessions, but ultimately defeated – they will now become employees of Securitas.

The fate of the National Gallery Assistants is indicative of a broader trend in the UK: frozen wages, diminished collective bargaining power, and the outsourcing of an ever greater portion of the workforce. The British cultural sector is certainly not immune from the prevailing winds of neo-liberal economics and public sector austerity.

Some of the worst hit museums in the UK are the 700 or so local authority museums – those that are funded directly through local councils, and which include some of the finest museums in the world. In England alone, cultural spending by local authorities has decreased by £1bn (or -28%) over the period 2010-2015, leading to restructuring, job losses and museum closures. One notable current example is in Lancashire in the north-west of England, where the local authority is currently closing five museums, and reducing its museums budget by 92%.

Museum closures are still relatively rare, but the impact on pay has been severe. The impact of a public sector pay freeze for the past five years (and four more years to come) means that those paid by local authorities have seen a reduction in real terms pay. Elsewhere, some local authority museums have been encouraged to become independent charitable trusts to take advantage of tax breaks and to removes the museum from the local authority’s books. But for staff in these museums, the move out of local authority control means new – often worse – terms and conditions, reapplying for jobs and a move away from the pay structures of local authorities that guarantee decent wages and pensions.

For the workers involved, this is clearly deeply troubling. But for those at the top of the pile, and for our political paymasters, the situation is far less problematic. After all, the vast majority of museums are still open to the public, apparently caring for (largely unseen) collections, and generally doing their job – all at a lower cost. Add to this the current relatively favourable funding settlement for the national museums – most of which are based in the same London bubble as the politicians who pay for them – and they might very well argue that there is no problem.

The laws of supply and demand in the museum labour market mean that museum sector complaints about low pay tend to fall on deaf ears. Working in a museum is still a ‘dream job’ for many, and the salary sacrifice that CFM director Elizabeth Merritt has written about also applies in the UK. It is fair to say that there will never be a recruitment crisis in the UK’s museums, regardless of pay levels.

Hence, for front of house staff in the UK, ‘Zero Hours contracts’ – in which staff are employed without the guarantee of any working hours – are becoming more common. Low wages for curatorial, conservation and outreach roles are standard practice, while there has been a proliferation in unpaid internships in recent years as competition grows for that first step on the ladder.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. A compulsory new UK Living Wage of £7.20 per hour ($10.24) for workers over the age of 25 will help lift the pay of those at the very bottom of the museum pay scale, while the lower National Minimum Wage (£6.70 per hour) applies to those aged 21-25. The Living Wage Foundation (which was founded before the national wage legislation was passed) runs a voluntary scheme which aims to get employers to sign up to paying their staff at least the real cost of living—which is higher than the legislated minimum “living” wage. (The Foundation uses a wage for London is calculated  annually by the Greater London Authority. The rate for the rest of the UK is determined by a university research center.). The National Portrait Gallery and Birmingham Museums Trust have both signed up to becoming Living Wage employers, but the funding pressures on museums mean that uptake across the sector is low. 

For those used to earning above the minimum wage, there is less support. The increasing use of short or fixed-term contracts that are based on project work means that freelance work is becoming more normal. One area of future support for the sector will be in identifying acceptable benchmarks for pay in this growing portion of the sector. The Paying Artists campaign in the UK have drafted guidelines for paying visual artists, and this may be a model to follow for museum staff.

So the future for workers looks like one of less collective bargaining power, and less job security – but greater flexibility and independence. And this shift comes with challenges for museums as well as those who work for them. They may become leaner organisations which become more adept at hiring in curatorial and creative resource when they need it. But they also risk losing out on institutional memory, knowledge and loyalty, and will need to find new ways of managing their collective knowledge for the future.




Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Biohacking the Biomonitor

@GHWetware @TimTheCyborg #biosensor #Circadia #implant
Follow the link in the photo caption to the associated story. You can find more glimpses of the future (and links) on CFM's Pinterest Boards

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Museums & Employment: Casting a Wider Net

Diversifying the museum workforce is going to involve all players in the labor market rethinking traditional assumptions. In her January guest post ("One Graduate's Job Search Story") Sophie Stein encourages recent graduates to looking beyond the traditional field for employment opportunities. Today Stephanie Cunningham, co-founder of Museum Hue and audience engagement specialist at the Brooklyn Museum, examines the other side of that equation, encouraging museums to look beyond the traditional applicant pool to recruit staff that reflect the organization's community and needs. (You can find Stephanie on Twitter @MuseumMistress. Museum Hue advances the viability and visibility of people of color using arts, culture and museums, as a medium for discussion, creation, and solutions. You can follow them @MuseumHue).

"It seems important that the museum be involved not simply in presenting or preserving but, opening up a space for dialogue—about art, about culture, about humanity.” --Thelma Golden, the Studio Museum in Harlem’s Director and Chief Curator


Museums play a fundamental role in creating national values and reproducing social relationships through their narrative practice. They are regarded for housing cultural representation and upholding the standard of what is considered art. Far too often however, the narrative excludes the voices of a large portion of the population, presenting a very white middle class perspective. Recent studies conducted by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs show what many people already know, museums are not diverse. Museum staff in New York City, one of the most diverse metropolises in the world, is over 60% white when 2/3 of the population identify as non-white. More than 78% of leaders and board members at cultural organizations are also white.
There are many ways that museums can begin to change this: I believe it begins with hiring practices. The average museum workers are not only white, a majority have advance degrees in art history, fine arts, and museum studies. While some may argue that qualifications, not race, determine who gets hired, the fact that these degrees have traditionally attracted white students perpetuates homogeneity. (Note: Even when people of color have these qualifications they still have great difficulty landing opportunities in museums because of racial discrimination). Museums must begin recruiting from outside the traditional fields for individuals who can assist in breaking down the disconnect between museums and the larger society. This is of particular importance in the communities they look to serve. Museums must foster the inclusion of ideas drawn from a variety of subject areas. An interdisciplinary dialogue in museums will both draw from, and contribute to the framework that characterizes museums. Museums should not privilege one type of interest and experience over another. Museum-related experience is not necessarily more important than unrelated work experience, when launching into a museums-related career. All paths can lead to meaningful work.
While there is much work to be done in this regard it is not totally hopeless as some museums are working to change. I recently led an Internship Information Session and Application Workshop for the Metropolitan Museum of Art that encouraged students of color from various disciplines (outside the traditional fields associated with museum employment) to apply for the Met’s paid Museum Seminar (Muse) Internship Program. A list was provided for students to identify their interests, skills, goals, and learning objectives to find the right department/project area. We also discussed how their experience could transfer into a permanent museum position. Many students that attended shared that their majors were not art related, yet they had an interest in the arts. And, before coming to the information session they never thought they would have an opportunity to work in museums.
This is where the issue lies. Many people dont know or are not given the opportunity to work in museums. Sandra Jackson-Dumont, newly appointed Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education, is working on how the Met can better engage people across sectors and increase audience diversity. Many internships at the Met develop into career opportunities at the museum. This isn’t something unfamiliar to our larger field; many start their professional career as interns and/or volunteers. However, institutions like the Met are open to change and other models are emerging in the field. Jason Yoon, Director of Education at the Queens Museum shared with me that when hiring they look at fields like: community/cultural organizing, art therapy, and social services. For the entry level Visitor Experience Agent position they are liberal about what fields they look at for potential candidates. For example, individuals who have experience in retail, customer service, education, human service/social services, and language abilities are considered highly competitive applicants. They have also hired alums from their Queens Teens program and New New Yorkers program, which offers language and skill-based classes.
The existential question museums should consider is how can they bridge the gap between people who have access to museums and those that do not? Diverse interdisciplinary discourse: cultural institutions must be committed to change their framework and look beyond traditional fields in order to bring in different understanding and interpretation of their collections for a broader target audience. Museum Hue is doing exactly the kind of work that is needed in the museum world. We help people of color with various backgrounds break-into the field. We offer tours and workshops that introduce multiple aspects of museum work and provide information about the skills needed to be successful museum professionals. We also engage in a variety of strategies involving the re-thinking of museums and its audience. Public Allies are also a great source for diverse emerging professionals. They identify emerging leaders from underrepresented groups and assist with career development. If museums are to remain vital and viable in the 21st century they must equip themselves with individuals that can form content that will counter the absence of diversity.






Friday, February 5, 2016

Future Fiction Friday: It began with the bees.

Hi, this is Sylvea. I wanted to share a story from our Future Fiction Challenge…this one, by Lisa Alleman, an educator at Lakewood Historical Society in Lakewood, OH. Check out the other entries here and submit your story!

If you would like tips from Elizabeth to get you started, read “How to Write the Future.” Here is Lisa's story....

It began with the bees.  When bees became an endangered species people finally noticed how vital were to us.  Behaviors changed and people took steps to repair damage done to the planet by years of not only neglect but in some cases abuse.  Clean energy was embraced.

Then, the Soleil virus damaged most of the data in the Cloud causing the Great Data Drought.  People were forced, for a short time to return to the old ways of atlas, index and paper.  Museums became a great resource for the lost knowledge and information.  Library reference collections were also again used as a daily resource.  Some of the largest museums were still at a disadvantage because so much of their information was digitized but smaller museums who still had paper files, photos and educational materials had lines of people waiting for information.  

When the virus was repaired most of the data returned but the crisis caused programmers to reinforce security measures.  This resulted in perfecting methods of data transmission and retrieval. The ability to upload information directly into a mind was revolutionary.  The lengthy process of learning was transformed.  There were drawbacks of course. Legislation had to be created to regulate access to potentially dangerous information and applying this wealth of information worked better for some than for others. Tactile skills still required actual practice and some began to complain that knowledge from computers paled in comparison to experience. 


A new brand of Luddite grew and they wanted hands on practice for lost skills.  There was renewed interest in house museums that told stories of how people lived before technology became the norm.  Tours and workshops covered topics that ranged from food preparation, gardening for the home, childhood before computers, sewing, music and poetry from the past.  Hobbies that were lost for decades experienced a rebirth.  People kept bees, made candles, and shared honey.  Hand sewing, knitting and lace making contests were growing in popularity.  People became accustomed to having something in their hands so crafts replaced digital devices that were now outdated since data was now immediately available in their own minds.  

People reached out and reconnected with each other and shared what they now knew and wanted experiences that they could share as well.  Travel and tourism also flourished as a result of this exploration of the physical world. When space exploration led to the settlements on other worlds people wanted to create museums there as well.  They wanted ways to tell their stories about ancestors and memorialize their new struggles to create societies.  So the future was bright because museums helped to enhance how people learned. Mankind found a balance between technology and history and it transformed their work within formal learning centers as well as beyond.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Lessons in Foresight

When I wooed the American Council of Learned Societies last year, proposing they assign CFM one of their public fellows, I promised that the Alliance would provide futurist training for the humanities post-doc that also matched our needs. Holding up our end of the bargain, we sent Dr. Nicole Ivy off to Texas last month to take the University of Houston’s Foresight certificate program. I myself took this 5-day, immersive workshop back in 2009 to help jump start my plans for CFM. Other museum alumni of the U. Houston certificate short course include Joe Cavanaugh, director of the National Museum of the Pacific War and Lisa Eriksen (who went on to organize the California Association of Museums’ Future Leaders program). Kate Burgess-Mac Intosh, principle of Revitalizing Historic Sites, enrolled in regular classes at the University of Houston to earn their graduate certificate in Foresight. Today on the Blog Nicole debriefs us on her time in Houston.  I hope you will consider taking the course as well, and join our small but growing band of museum futurists! 

Foresight Course Presentation at the University of Houston
Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the University of Houston Foresight Certificate Course in order to learn more about the strategies of futures work. I was part of a cohort of thirty professionals from a wide range of industries and international locations who descended on Houston, Texas for a week-long, intensive study of foresight. Led by experienced futurists and field leaders Peter Bishop and Andy Hines, the course immerses students in the theory grounding futures studies before moving them through a series of in-depth group exercises designed to teach facilitation skills as well as core concepts. This project-based approach gives participants an opportunity to have hands-on experience with the kind of work that professional futurists do within organizations and groups: framing issues and scanning for multiple forms of change; building scenarios; analyzing alternative outcomes; and conducting goal-based planning.

Foresight analysis has expanded out from its use in government and in a core group of specific industries (oil and technology, for instance) into the public and private sectors more broadly. As people and industries search for ways to adapt to the rapid pace of change in today’s world, the work of visioning probable, possible, and preferred futures is now more important than ever before. The Houston Foresight Course prepares attendees to systematically analyze change across the STEEP categories: the social, technological, economic, ecological, and political trends shaping our world. In addition to emphasizing trend analysis and systems thinking, the course provides invaluable tools for crafting stories that imagine futures that we might not otherwise consider.

UH Foresight Course in Action
One of the most distinctive features of this course is its global scope.  My fellow attendees represented a staggering variety of industries, from international government, military, and law enforcement to cosmetics and materials science. I practiced mapping the future of consumer behavior with members of the global intelligence community and with librarians. As a person in the museum field who thinks a great deal about the humanities, I was, admittedly, out of my comfort zone. But, that’s part of the strength of the course. Foresight analysis stresses that the ways that people understand how social change happens—whether they view change as constant, cyclical, or driven by crisis, for instance—determines how they imagine the outcomes of change. Witnessing how people from diverse places and fields think about change drove home the importance of foresight analysis as a means of systematically evaluating the assumptions we make about what’s possible.

My biggest takeaways from the course can be summed up in three themes:

  •  The Value of Systems Thinking
  • The Danger of Un-Challenged Assumptions
  • The Importance of Alternatives


Systems Thinking


Systems are all around us. We might think of the “butterfly effect,” or how a small change in one’s process can create ripples of change that reach out in many directions. The UH course stressed that the things that we observe to occur might have consequences far greater that we might immediately imagine. Mapping out the possible and also unexpected effects of any given occurrence is an important strategy for thinking beyond the now.


Un-challenged Assumptions

One of the most compelling exercises of the course challenged groups to come up with examples of times when the “common-sense” answer resulted in more problems than it solved (Full disclosure: My response was “standardized testing.”) That activity revealed the danger of the “common-sense” solution in long-range planning. By visioning the future beyond the horizon of what we commonly know, we might come up with truly innovative versions and visions of what we might do.

The Importance of Alternatives

A key principle of strategic foresight is alternative foresight analysis. In this process, individuals and groups identify a baseline for a possible future (for example, wearable technology becoming ubiquitous in health-monitoring accessories) and then identify alternative outcomes that counter or otherwise disrupt this baseline (say, wearables giving way to implantables). The scenario-building work that follows proceeds from the alternative future, rather than the baseline. While this approach seems, at first glance, counter-intuitive, I found it to be one of the most impactful lessons of the course. Some of the best ideas arise when we invert the futures we expect and build out from that perspective.

The Houston foresight course challenged me personally and professionally to move beyond my comfort zone to think more expansively about long-range change. But, it also reminded me of the power of stories. After all, scenario building is, at heart, a way to craft a story of probable futures. I encourage you to check out the course and practice your own foresight chops in the CFM Future Fiction challenge. The use of storytelling as a means of analyzing change is something the museum field is particularly poised to take advantage of—telling stories is what we do.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Future of Websites

CFM is a “skunkworks” for the Alliance, as well as an idea lab for the field. Sometimes we test drive things that may (or may not) work to assess whether they are promising practices for the association as a whole. Case in point: our website. When we launched CFM it was the only AAM initiative to have its own website. Then when the association redesigned the whole site in 2012 it came back into the fold. Now we are branching out again to test the digital waters. Today Josh Morin, AAM’s project manager for information technology, talks about how we are incorporating trends in website design into our newest work.
Josh Morin guides many of the
Alliance's IT projects, including web design

On January 19 the Center for the Future of Museums launched a new “micro” website dedicated to the intersecting futures of education and museums. A new standalone microsite is a very different approach for the Alliance. In the past this content would exist as a series of webpages and pdfs buried on the current website which would not do justice to the topic. Once AAM selected the future of education as a strategic focus, it was clear the topic required a larger presence. I recommended the project haves own dedicated space—its own site. 

My inspiration was the Walker Art Center’s award winning website redesign. A beautifully constructed site, the real genius here is a departure from the traditional focus of “this website is all about our museum” to “a website about contemporary art and our museum.” This approach positions the site, and by extension the Walker, as the go-to source of up to date content about contemporary art regardless of whether or not the user intended to visit the museum. Crucially, it does not limit itself to content generated by museum staff: it pulls in and links to great stuff from across the web. The Walker’s director, Olga Viso, noted when they launched the new website, that it “provides us with a voice in other conversations about contemporary art.”

That’s the role of our new site: to provide the Alliance, and museums in general, with a voice in the conversation about the future of education—specifically how P-12 learning can be different, and better, in the coming century. We want the site to be a “go to” source for anyone interested in this topic, so we will compile and link to blogs, tweet streams, web pages and reports from a variety of sources. The site isn’t about CFM, or the Alliance; it is dedicated to a cause: building the next era of learning.

We also used this opportunity to experiment with “microsites”, which are trending in web design. (AAM has also created a microsite dedicated to the annual meeting.) These targeted sites, which are separate from an organization’s main web site, can reduce clutter and focus attention to one main subject, product, or campaign. They provide the opportunity to play with a new look and feel that may in turn influence design of the main “brand.” We will use what we learn from this experiment to feedback into the design of our main web site, or prompt us to spin off more dedicated sites in the future.
  
Here are a few places I go/people to follow to keep up on website trends:

I am a huge fan of the A Book Apart series and would recommend giving them a follow on twitter @abookapart. They regularly post “A few of our faves” with link to must read resources.

DigitalGov @digital_gov creates and links to so many resources they are a must follow. In addition their content corner has some great material.

Nielsen Norman Group has been around for a while but are still producing great reports and ideas. You can follow them @nngroup.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Future Fiction Friday

Hi, this is Sylvea. I wanted to share a story from our Future Fiction Challenge…this one, by Sarah Jesse, is entitled “World Museum and Library Database.” Check out the other entries here and submit your story!

If you would like tips from Elizabeth to get you started, read “How to Write the Future.”

 Crap.  It’s Monday. 

You know that feeling right when you wake up and can’t remember what day it is?  For a split second I thought it was Sunday and, man, it felt good.  I had just started plotting how I would spend the day when another resident, Calvin, flung open my door and yelled, “Arreis!  You’re still in bed?  Wake up!  You’re gonna make us late!”

I snapped out of my half-asleep state and felt a familiar knot forming in the pit of my stomach.  So much for playing football and video games all day.  Groggy and annoyed, I got ready for school.

I dread weekdays for this very reason.  I’m on what my teacher Mr. Machado calls “thin ice.”  He’s always riding me for zoning out in class.  Last week after missing another assignment, he lit into me in front of everyone about how I have to start applying myself.  Whatever that means.  School is boring and pointless.  Besides, I’ve got a lot on my mind so it’s impossible to pay attention. 

One thing to know about me is that I’m a foster kid.  For most of my life I’ve been in and out of group homes.  It’s pretty much all I know, but it still stinks.  Next week is another court hearing when I find out if I have to move to another residence and transfer schools for the second time this year.  Like I said, I’ve got more important things to think about than some dumb school project.  But I can’t blow it again with Mr. M or who knows what will happen this time.

At least I won’t be stuck in a depressing classroom all week. Calvin reminded me: class is being held at a museum.   

We arrive at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and are greeted by someone who works there named Sarah.  We snake our way through the galleries with her until we reach our destination.  I look up and note the sign above the glass doors: The World Museum and Library Hub: Classroom #5. 

Huh.  In spite of myself, I perk up and peer into the Hub.  This might be kind of cool actually. 

I step inside and walk around a little, taking everything in.  The room itself is nice, but nothing special.  It’s about half the size of a basketball court with wood floors, white walls, high ceilings and a skylight.  What’s interesting about the space are all of the random objects scattered throughout.  

Compared to the galleries we saw along the way, it’s pretty laid-back in here.  Tables and chairs are strewn about the space in uneven groupings.  Black and white photographs are propped up against the wall and on shelves. In the middle of the room, larger tables have been pushed together to display what look like posters, newspaper clippings, and other documents.  Some of these things look really old.  It’s hard to believe they’re just out in the open like this and not locked inside cases or anything. 

Curious, I look closer at the photographs.  Some of them look familiar, but I can’t figure out why.  We gather in a half circle around Sarah and Mr. M.

“Welcome to the World Museum and Library Hub at LACMA,” Sarah says cheerfully.  “In this room are all of the primary sources you requested from the WML database, which includes objects from every museum and library in the world, all in one place.   I understand from Mr. Machado that you’ve been studying everyday life at different times and places around the world…“

As Sarah continues talking, it hits me. 

“Wait!  That’s the photo I saw online!”  I blurt out.

My body freezes—except for my heart, which is pounding, and my face that is turning redder by the second.  Everyone is quiet, waiting for Mr. M to react to my outburst.  To my surprise, Sarah laughs and then, shockingly, so does Mr. M.  I relax a little.

“Yes, class, as Arreis reminds us, our latest examination of daily life focuses on labor throughout history. The wide variety of sources you identified will help us understand not only what work was like both in and outside of the home, but also why it was like this and how it developed this way.  Over the course of the week, we’ll use the objects you selected as tools to uncover different perspectives.

Despite only half-paying attention in class when this project began, the pieces were starting to connect for me. 

The month prior, Mr. M had divided us into groups to research various aspects of the topic.  Not surprisingly, I was forced to partner with Matilda, an intense, know-it-all type.  I’m sure he thought she’d be a good influence on me.  Of course Matilda had a million ideas for our project.  She had mentioned something about kids in the early 1900s working full time, and it sounded mildly interesting to me at the time, so I agreed we could focus on that.

She immediately pulled out her tablet and typed “worldmuseumlibrarycatalog.com” into the address bar.  “What’s that?”  I remember asking her.  She rolled her eyes in a way that seemed to say, “Have you not paid any attention to what’s been going on in class?”  She responded curtly, “It’s a website of historical objects from all over the world.  You pick out what you want to see in real life, save it to your digital cart, and it’ll get sent to the closest Hub to our zip code.”  I got out my tablet and, following her lead, punched “kids” and “work” into a keyword search field.

Matilda eventually warmed up to me, and we spent the rest of the afternoon looking through the 44,000 objects from museums and libraries that the search produced.  She spent a lot of time looking at old letters and pamphlets, which all seemed a little dull, but she was into it.  I found a bunch of photographs by Lewis Hine from art and history museums.  Matilda narrowed my selection down to ones that related to ideas in the documents she chose and saved them to our class’ cart.  When we finished, we clicked on the dashboard icon.  Our class had picked 47 objects from 12 museums and 18 libraries in the U.S. 

Fast forward four weeks, we’re now in the Hub looking at the very objects we requested.

Mr. Machado finishes giving the class direction and cuts us loose to look everything over.  I find Matilda, and we go to the photograph from the Metropolitan Museum of Art that had prompted my outburst.  It’s a portrait of a boy my age who worked in a factory.  He looks a little like me.  Matilda notices it too. His mouth is curved in a slight smirk and his brow is creased, which makes him seem a lot older.  He looks tough, but also tired and worried.  I can relate to that.   

We examine our other objects as well, and Matilda fills me in on what she learned so far from the documents.  Hearing details about the working conditions at the time makes me see the kids in Hines’ photographs differently.  We’re in the middle of planning what we need to do next for our project when Mr. Machado interrupts the class: “Ok, students, it’s time to wrap up for the day.” 

I look at the clock.  Woah, it’s already 3:00 pm.  We pack up our things and trace our steps back through the galleries with Sarah toward the exit.  Mr. M catches up to me and we talk a little about the day.  As I board the bus to go back to my residence, I think about the boy in the photo and what life must have been like for him—Where were his parents? Did he have siblings? Was he ever afraid?  Had he ever gone to school?   What kind of jobs did he have to do?  What had he wanted to be when he grew up?

Calvin didn’t have to wake me up the next morning.  I had my own work to do.  To answer these questions, I needed to get back to the Hub.