Conference Presentation Highlights Innovative Educational Program

Conference Presentation Highlights Innovative Educational Program

Father and son try out kIDsafe activities for preschoolers and their families during a recent evaluation session.

If a disaster struck your community, which institutions or organizations would you turn to for support and aid?  If there was an ongoing problem, who would be best suited to help your family, friends, or loved ones? 

At a recent professional conference and annual meeting of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH), School Program Specialist Becky Fulcher proposed that the National Law Enforcement Museum could be an organization to help during disasters or with ongoing problems.  Indeed, any museum can serve this function, as the conference session suggested.  Along with Betsy Bowers of the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (Washington, DC) and John West-Bey of the Prince George’s African American History & Cultural Center (Brentwood, MD), Fulcher presented during a session entitled, “Responding to History in the Making: New Community Relevance.”

Although history museums aren’t known for either addressing problems as they happen or actively addressing ongoing community needs, each museum represented on the panel is offering programming that bucks this trend.  Fulcher outlined the Museum’s innovative kIDsafe program, which addresses the ongoing problem of community safety and domestic violence through family activities that teach children about healthy relationships.  When children learn how to have healthy relationships, the incidence of teen dating violence and domestic violence can decrease, reducing the number of dangerous and often life-threatening calls law enforcement officers are asked to take.

As the Museum develops, it will positively affect the entire community, not just the families who will one day visit the Museum or the law enforcement officers who will be safer as a result of kIDsafe and other educational programs, but also the professional community of museum colleagues.

Participating in meetings like that of the AASLH allows National Law Enforcement Museum staff to build relationships with other museums and institutions, as well as grow and learn professionally, so that they can better address the ongoing and immediate needs of the community.  Partnerships are an important component of any effort to positively affect the community, and community organizations, law enforcement, schools, and other museums are just a few of the keys the Museum will need to successfully realize its mission.




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