Programs and Exhibits by Chris
Given the directive of creating a fast-paced field trip that would foster creative thinking and teamwork in response to an imaginary problem with an Apollo mission, Theresa and Chris researched and designed the experience based on actual NASA reports. Their deadline was 3 months as they worked around the Cosmosphere's staff-intensive camp season. They also collected or created public domain graphics as necessary and even physical components when needed. The gallery, right, showcases the work. More detailed explanations are here. Photos of the program are from the Hutchinson News (source here).
As the Education Director at the Mid-America Air Museum, Chris redid existing displays about the B-24 training base that had preceded the museum. The exhibit had several goals: to refresh and brighten dated displays of photos; to arrange photos into a narrative; provide detailed descriptions of what the photos showed; place the Liberal Army Airfield’s history into the larger context of World War II and aerial technology; and use a full-scale mural of a B-24 as a substitute for having an actual example of the aircraft in the museum. Chris executed all parts of the exhibit, from reading historical records and consulting with community sources, recruiting a local muralist and soliciting donations of supplies, guiding the muralist and a volunteer rewriting the texts, as well as handling and arranging related artifacts.
Projects Coordinated by Chris
Beginning in college, Chris has enjoyed organizing complicated projects. His college experience was acting as the Coordinator of the Sustainability Coalition. This all-volunteer student group grew into 25, trained, students collecting signatures in support of a new staff position to better organize the college’s sustainable initiatives. The result was motivating a group made up mostly of juniors and seniors in their last month of school to collect 511 signatures (over half of the student body) through standardized training, collaborations with other student organizations, and presentations before governing bodies.
Snapshots of other projects can also be seen below.
Project: Campaign for State Rep.
Project: Pirate Ship Facade
Project: Moving Museum Aircraft
Volunteer and Intern Programs by Chris
Chris has worked with volunteers while a student leader, candidate for state house of representatives, museum educator, and as the Education Director of the Mid-America Air Museum.
In the latter role, he also worked with interns: acting as their immediate supervisor, organizing their training, and ensuring compliance with the grant funding the program. Volunteers for the Mid-America Air Museum were also Chris’ responsibility: he experimented with virtual reality to recruit new volunteers, trained existing volunteers and planned social events, and provided management of both walk-in and regular volunteers.
In managing both, Chris aimed to find opportunities that would be rewarding to the intern/volunteer and useful for the institution or cause.
Research Conducted by Chris:
After accidentally discovering two paintings with inscriptions on the back indicating they were from Olive Beech (of Beechcraft), Chris did some research into their provenance. Besides having to identify the aircraft pictured, he tracked the recipients through censuses, birth certificates, marriage licenses, and period newspaper pieces. Details are here.
In addition to researching individuals, Chris is accustomed to performing research in both primary and secondary materials and through interviews in support of programs, exhibits, and publications. At the most formal, he is co-author of an academic encyclopedia article which can be found under this citation:
Givan, Christopher and Tobias T. Gibson. “Dwight Eisenhower.” Encyclopedia of Lying and Deception. Timothy R. Levine and J. Geoffrey Golson, eds. SAGE Reference, 2014.
Community Collaborations by Chris
Collaborating with community organizations and community members is an important way of connecting a museum to the people who support it, as well as ensure it is tailored to current issues. During Chris’ campaign for the Kansas State House of Representatives, he used both traditional listening events and more unusual events to reach constituents (such as a sandcastle building competition). More recently, he started a project translating museum signs to Spanish in a community that was 60% Hispanic with the help of a dual-language class from one of the elementary schools.