Activity carts provide a mobile educational platform in combination with a trained interpreter whose role is to engage with curious visitors. Interpreters are individuals trained in the use of inquiry-based discussion and hands-on techniques to connect visitors to resources, content, and ideas, and who encourage visitors to explore, discover, and learn together.
The museum already knew the value of activity carts, because they have been used inside our gallery space where they have been met with enthusiasm by our guests. Last year, in order to introduce visitors to our newest garden, the McGraw Family Garden of the Senses, we implemented the same techniques and staffing outdoors that we had employed with success in our exhibit galleries. Evaluation demonstrated a very positive visitor response to having access to skilled interpreters and teaching carts outdoors.
The garden activity carts are placed in four strategic locations, the McGraw Family Garden of the Senses (which is designed appeal to the senses of every visitor and includes elements such as water features, stone walls, meadows, and a boardwalk with a variety of plantings offering an inspiring mix of color, texture, scent, and sound to create a rich sensory experience), the McInnes Garden (which is planted with a changing selection of colorful annuals and designed to attract pollinators for visitors to observe), the Dexter Terrace (located at the gateway to our world class collection of rhododendrons, which were hybridized by the internationally-known Charles Owen Dexter) and the lawn in front of the J.K. Lilly III Automobile Gallery (where visitors are oriented to highlights of currently blooming plants throughout the gardens).
View this brief video to learn more about the garden activity carts.