Monthly Mentor

Natalie C. Jones (February)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Natalie C. Jones is an artist, small business owner, and the director of education at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. She has 10 years of experience working as an art teacher and teaching artist throughout the east coast and the Midwest. Click "GO" to read her full bio.



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Tuesday 12.29.15

Looking Ahead to 2016

From: Dana Carlisle Kletchka, Ph.D.

Although this time of the year is generally known for winding down and finishing up the last-minute tasks that one must complete before winter break, it is also a time to be making arrangements for that time of year so many of us look forward to—National Convention time! Part of my yearly December ritual of closing up my university office space includes reviewing the NAEA Conference and Convention website, entering presentation dates on my calendar, making hotel and travel arrangements, and registering for both the NAEA National Convention and the Museum Education Division Preconference. It helps me to start out the New Year being grateful and looking forward to seeing both the academic and art museum colleagues I’ve been lucky enough to work with in years past.


Sign up for the 2016 NAEA National Convention here.

To learn more about the Museum Education Division and find links to their expanding social media presence, click here

Tuesday 12. 8.15

The Role of Publishing in Museum Education

From: Dana Carlisle Kletchka, Ph.D.

The work of educators in art museums, like those in schools, is multifaceted, challenging, and, at times, exhilarating. Typical tasks include meetings with other staff members, planning opportunities for education and engagement with the permanent collection & special exhibitions, conducting formative and summative evaluation, writing and editing didactic and interpretive information, working with volunteer docents or paid gallery volunteers, and doing paperwork/responding to email/tying up loose ends ad infinitum.

One thing that a typical day does not include is time for professional development—the reading, writing, discussion, conference going and class-taking that comprise much professional development is more or less an addition to the work day rather than part of it. In particular, writing—as a form of praxis, of information sharing, or expanding our understandings of the work that we do—is most neglected. But it is arguably one of the best ways to improve our field.

This week, NAEA’s Museum Education Division is sponsoring a Peer2Peer Google Hangout titled How Do I Get Published? A Practical Guide for Museum Educators to Writing for and Submitting to Print and Online Publications. If you are interested in attending, make sure that your Google+ account is current, your computer has a camera, and that you have a quiet space for about an hour. (If you do not have these three things, the Hangout will be recorded and available for later viewing).

The hangout will be here at 1:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 9.


Join the conversation about the role of publishing in museum education. We'll address the following and additional questions from viewers: Where can I publish? What are the steps to publish? How do I make time to publish? 


Cynthia Robinson, Director, Museum Studies Program at 
Tufts University; Editor in Chief of the Journal of Museum Education

Dana Carlisle Kletchka, Curator of Education at the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State

Emily Holtrop, Director of Learning and Interpretation at the Cincinnati Art Museum; NAEA Museum Education Division President

Tuesday 12. 1.15

Welcome to the December Edition

From: Dana Carlisle Kletchka, Ph.D.

Hello and welcome to the December edition of the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. This month, I will be sharing with you some of the thoughts, experiences, and struggles that I have as the curator of education at the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State. 

Palmer Museum of Art

Rather than writing a typical introduction with the who/what/where of what I do, I thought a less formal introduction would be more interesting. These questions are drawn from a Google search of “getting to know you questions.”

I am looking forward to discussing art education—and art museum education in particular—with you this month!


Photo credit: Tammy Hosterman

* Who was your favorite celebrity as a child? Marie Osmond.
* What type of pets do you have? Three cats and a Betta fish.
* What is your favorite color? Black.
* What is most memorable about your high school years? Playing the viola in the school orchestra.
* What word describes you best? Dedicated.
* What is your greatest accomplishment? Balancing (usually) my personal, professional, and academic lives.
* What drives you every day? My desire to understand and know.
* What is your favorite food? Pad Thai with tofu.
* Where do you want to retire? New England.
* What is your business goal this year? Finish an interactive iBook gallery guide.
* Where do you like to vacation? The ocean.
* Who do you admire? My spouse, close friends, and colleagues. 
* What is your mission? To enable every student, faculty, staff, and community member at Penn State to have a meaningful engagement in the galleries at the Palmer Museum of Art.
* What traits in others are you attracted to? Compassion, intelligence, and humor.
* How do you want to be remembered? With fondness.