The Grove Museum’s new executive director, Amanda Hamon, has worked in museums for more than 20 years. As the museum prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary with Grove Day 2022 on Saturday March 12, Hamon is ready to open a new chapter of community engagement and partnerships.
“I see museums as public places for conversation, where people can share ideas and develop new ways of thinking,” says Hamon. “It’s about understanding the value of places and objects. We may be a very text-based society when it comes to lifelong learning and knowledge, but there are many different ways to engage in learning. I think architecture, buildings and objects are all part of those stories.
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Hamon has been researching history and marveling at its rare objects and fossils since she was very young. Originally from Kansas, she grew up among scientists. She accompanied her parents on field research trips since she was in a bassinet. Hamon’s father was a paleontologist and served as curator of the Natural History Museum at the University of Kansas.
“I grew up in museums”
In the open spaces of Wyoming and Nebraska, a young Hamon emerged from her tent each summer day to comb through handfuls of dirt. One year she accompanied her father on a trip to Germany to dig in the Solnhofen limestone and discovered a valuable ammonite shell the size of a grapefruit.
“My father really gave me a love of objects, research and discovery,” explains Hamon. “He was an incredible person and I must pay tribute to him for this museum journey that I took. I grew up in museums.
Hamon’s path to museums goes through the history of art. She received her degrees in Art Museum Education and Art History from the University of Kansas and is currently completing her Ph.D. at Florida State University in museum education and visitor-centered curations.
In her previous positions, she has served in both education and art museum administration, and most appreciate the opportunity to engage with visitors. Its focus on facilitating experiences has led to dynamic dialogues that can focus on anything from art to science to literature, all as a way to deepen an appreciation of history. .
“Often museums have a reputation for telling you what’s right or correct or what you should know, but in reality, museums tell stories and ways of thinking about things,” says Hamon. “Museum education is about helping people understand what they bring to these stories and that the questions they ask are meaningful and valid. It’s about listening and responding to what you hear and learning to help them discover more and have those conversations. »
What drew Hamon to the Grove Museum was the interpretive plan that looks at history from a holistic perspective. She was inspired by the virtual programming the museum has undertaken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how museum staff have worked with each other to recognize community members who have contributed information. and stories to contribute to the history of the historic house.
In her first seven months as Executive Director, she had the chance to do a bit of everything – from planning gallery events and managing collections to tending the 10.5 acres and its programming.
“I’m so lucky to have such a passionate and dedicated staff for the work we do,” says Hamon. “Grove Day has always been a wonderful and fun day of activities at the museum, and it’s getting even more special this year with performances and music that bring the site to life.”
Special Events for Grove Day
Lofty Pursuits, Frother’s Daughter and Caribbean Cuisine will be offering refreshments and giveaways of free ice cream and drinks for the first twenty people in line at Lofty Pursuits and Frother’s Daughter respectively. The morning will begin with a children’s show by The Runaway Biscuits which will include entertainment and audience interaction for all ages.
Misty Penton, bio-archaeologist, storyteller and keeper of Muscogee/Creek traditions, and director of education at the Fred George Museum will share stories about native plants and animals on site alongside “Backyard Discovery: Archaeology.”
Former Grove executive director Johnathan Grandage will be offering nature walks throughout the afternoon.
“We’re happy to have him here today because he deserves a lot of praise for laying the groundwork for all the work we do at the museum,” adds Hamon.
While outdoor toys, games and blankets will all be provided to visitors on Grove Day, Hamon hopes to let the community know that these are resources available year-round. She emphasizes that the Grove Museum is owned by the State of Florida and the community of Tallahassee, and looks forward to the next chapter in the museum’s growth.
“We really want people to feel like The Grove is a place where you can come hang out with your friends and family and enjoy the space, and I’d like that to happen whenever we’re open,” says Hamon, who cannot imagine a world without spaces like museums. “History gives you hope to do better and gives us the opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments. It contributes to a better world.
If you are going to
What: Grove Day 2022
When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday March 12
Or: The Grove Museum, 902 North Monroe St.
Cost: Free entrance
Contact: For more information visit https://fb.me/e/11S5c9dX5
Amanda Sieradzki is a feature writer for the Council for Culture and the Arts. COCA is the Capital Region’s umbrella agency for arts and culture (www.tallahasseearts.org).
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