When the Wild Center opened its doors in 2006, it was already one of the most unique science museums in the United States, situated in the heart of the country's largest natural park. The Center's relationship to the local and regional community has always been one of active engagement, and nowhere was that more true than with the decision to provide a maple sugaring education and production facility right at the museum. The Community Maple Project brought scientists and experts, commercial producers, and do-it-yourself enthusiasts together to help the community re-claim the tradition of maple sugaring.
The Wild Center chose to celebrate the many years of this work by collaborating with StoryCenter to support those involved in making digital stories to be shared with the larger community. We visited the Center in the fall of 2014 to gather 11 stories of people who had engaged in the project. In a two-day workshop format, participants wrote and recorded stories, worked on storyboards, and gathered images. The stories were edited and post-produced by members of our staff. The stories, Maple Videos, capture the passion many people have for this work, and the ways that lives that have been changed, through participation.
We also led a half-day intensive workshop with Wild Center staff and board members, looking at how Storywork can further inform organizational development, community engagement, and educational processes at the museum.