Blog: Mel Drumm

He blinded us with science! Not really. But Mel Drumm does help make science fun and accessible for Ann Arbor area kids as director of the Hands-On Museum. Under his leadership the museum  has broken attendance records and updated its exhibits and programs. Mel will talk about how lessons learned at the museum don't only apply to kids.

Mel Drumm - Post 2: Teamwork - Through the Eyes of a Cartoon Character

An incredibly strong community commitment has led the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum to nearly 30 years of providing informal science experiences to nearly 4 million people. Expanding that thought beyond our doors, I'm convinced that Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County are perfect examples of where community ownership and engagement has propelled a community to succeed at an unprecedented level.

We've all heard the multitude of definitions of teamwork and we see numerous examples of teamwork daily in our work and personal lives. As one that has spent a lifetime providing demonstrations to eager audiences, I would like to share, or demonstrate, an example of teamwork, as observed through our unique "Hands-On" way of interaction.

Imagine a cartoon character and how such a character may inspire teamwork in children. Over the last several months, Ann Arbor has been the adopted home of Bob the Builderä, a popular television character tailored to inspire teamwork and eco-friendly construction ideas to preschoolers and their families. It is amazing to watch people working together to solve a series of tasks in Bob's Project: Build It "exhibit" neighborhood. It is not uncommon to find families working together to repair a sink trap, building a wall or using make-believe power tools. Even better, it is amazing to see teamwork in dozens of children playing together for the first time, and in doing so, solving a series of age-related tasks with kids they have never met before.

The collaborative spirit of our community contributes to teamwork throughout the community and at the Museum. In our case, hundreds of volunteers provide thousands of hours of support each year. Countless collaborators from the academic, engineering, science, medical, cultural, civic and tech worlds have provided the resources, expertise, passion and collaborative spirit to allow the creation of over 250 unique-to-Ann Arbor hands-on exhibits and an unending variety of educational programs. Hundreds of generous donors continue to support the Museum through their unwavering financial generosity. Over 100 community leaders have served as trustees on our Board since our founding.

Teamwork, whether though children interacting with a cartoon character's exhibit, or in work, school, community or other social interactions equates to enhanced productivity and community engagement. Teamwork is reflected in myriad ways in individual organizations and throughout Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County. I believe that this teamwork positions our part of Michigan as an incubator of innovation, lifelong learning and creativity galore. It doesn't matter if you are two, twenty-two or one hundred and two, community-based teamwork is for kids of all ages.