The National Museum of Bermuda is pleased to announce that Lisa Howie has been hired as Director of Learning and Engagement. She will be implementing the newly-launched NMB Education Strategy that repositions the Museum as a multi-faceted community institution that encourages and supports the open exploration of history, heritage, and identity. “We are thrilled to have Lisa join the NMB team,” said NMB Executive Director Elena Strong. “She brings a wealth of experience and expertise along with enthusiasm and a fresh art-based perspective”.
Through the design and delivery of innovative and engaging programming, targeting early childhood to lifelong learners, Howie will work on strengthening and promoting an understanding and appreciation of Bermuda’s diverse heritage and history. Knowing, understanding, and appreciating our history and heritage can allow us to effectively confront the issues of the present, shape our identity and our lives and strengthen our purpose in the world.
Ms. Howie will be building the Museum’s education department from the ground up, working closely with the NMB Education Committee and staff, and collaborating with local educators, schools, government, and community groups. Initial priorities include growing formalised educational initiatives with schools and community partners; developing teacher professional development programmes that provide up-to-date historical research to better support teachers with the delivery of the local social studies curricula; launching a community docent programme; and increasing opportunities for Museum members and community groups to engage with our past.
After completing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Canada, Howie worked in the Bermuda school system for 13 years. She moved to the Bermuda National Gallery as Education Director in 2006 and was BNG’s Executive Director from 2009–17. A lifelong learner herself, she recently completed a certificate of the Senior Leaders Programme for Non-Profit Professionals at Columbia University in New York City. She is also is the owner and curator of Black Pony Gallery, which seeks to develop international awareness of the contemporary visual art movement in Bermuda.
Ms. Howie said: “NMB’s Education Strategy 2019: Moving the Needle was the hook. It is a thoughtful document that challenges the manner in which a museum will engage with learners of all ages, doing so in order to transcend barriers, instigate new ways of thinking, and ultimately arrive at transformative experiences. My role is a great opportunity for me to deep-dive into our Island’s history—learning actively while creating stimulating programmes to engage a wide audience. This spirit of learning by teaching is a key element of the NMB Education Strategy and I will be modelling the way.”
Presently, Ms. Howie is co-developing an unprecedented cross-generational collaboration at Bermuda College with Professor Ru-Zelda Severin and primary school teachers Dawnette Simons and Kristina Amaro. This special course, entitled Crafting Atlantic World History Narratives, follows an inquiry method approach both for the college students and the educational products the team is developing on Atlantic World History specific to ages 3-8. This layering of learning, for educators, students, and early learners, sets up an innovative approach to programme design that may give direction on future initiatives.
Also in the works, is an alternative approach to professional development for teachers, in partnership with the Department of Education. Designed as a year-long four (4) module programme to better support teachers’ incorporation of local history into the classroom, local educators will be given the opportunity to explore, refine and unpack their understanding of Bermuda’s diverse past and experiment with multi-disciplinary approaches to history in order to help respond to the needs of 21stcentury students.
This programme will link primary, middle, and high school social studies/ Bermuda studies curricula with current research; make history relevant and accessible using inquiry-based lectures and interactive workshops; and result in a deeper sense of historical knowledge and pride of place. Post programme, teachers will receive user-friendly teacher unit plans and resources created by NMB to help bring history to life in the classroom.
Appealing to our older population, Ms. Howie is designing an Adult Ambassador Programme which will enable participants to become both champions of the NMB in the wider community as well as trained guides of specific exhibitions that interest them most. Phase 1 of this pilot programme will be offered in partnership with the Lifelong Learning Centre at Bermuda College so that senior citizens can achieve cultural enrichment and, by giving tours, remuneration. The curriculum will be developed from a rigorous 10-session curriculum that is rooted in the museum’s history, collections, lab, and exhibitions, while developing oratory and inquiry skills. Interested seniors should contact Ms. Howie at the Museum at email@example.com.
As in previous years, the NMB is offering free admission for the community for the month of February. Don’t miss out as this year we will be offering a variety of activities for all ages each Saturday of the month. Please look for the schedule—coming soon.