Summer Brings New Museum Educator-in-Residence

Kris Wetterlund spent June 2013 as the Gardner Museum's latest Educator-in-Residence. Wetterlund is a founder of Museum-Ed, a not-for-profit professional organization that provides tools and resources by and for the museum education community. She currently serves as editor of the Museum-Ed listserv and website. One of the first to understand the potential of digital media for museum education, Wetterlund was instrumental in the creation of ArtsConnectEd, a groundbreaking resource for teachers that draws on the collections of both the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker Art Center.

"Kris Wetterlund is the classic early adopter. She was one of the first to realize the potential of digital resources for museum audiences, and is one of the people everyone in the field turns to for advice about future trends," said Peggy Burchenal, Esther Stiles Eastman Curator of Education and Public Programs at the Gardner Museum. "I was thrilled when Kris agreed to come, because she deserves the gift of time this residency represents. Kris works tirelessly for the field, and we wanted to recognize the many ways, large and small, that she has inspired museum educators nationally and internationally."

Wetterlund authored a variety of online art resources including the award-winning Get the Picture: Thinking about Photographs, and more recently, the Walters Art Museum's Integrating the Arts: Mummies, Manuscripts and Madonnas. She has also developed a national plan for delivering the Mellon Foundation's ARTstor project to K-12 teachers and students as a classroom resource. She was named NAEA's Western Region Museum Educator in 2012. During her time at the Gardner, Wetterlund's work focused on an interpretive writing manual she plans to make available as a free online resource through Museum-Ed.

"Kris decided she wanted to do some crowdsourcing of ideas for the manual, so we contacted museum educators in the area and invited them to join a writing group about labels," Burchenal said. "Colleagues from area museums met weekly to share ideas about what makes a really great label as we wrote our own together. All of us learned so much, and came away with a new sense of the complexities involved. And Kris left with a raft of new ideas about what the manual should be. Check Museum-Ed to see what's next."

Kris hails from Minneapolis, where she and her husband, Scott Sayre, are the principals of Sandbox Studios, a company that works with museums to plan, create, manage and assess education programs and technology projects. Sandbox Studios staff have created everything from classroom materials to Web portals encompassing multi-museum collections; a recent project involved collaborating with the National Gallery in London and Oxford University Press to create learning resources for the Italian Renaissance.