How We Do It

Eli Whitney Museum

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Note: this is an outline of another section planned for the Web page. It’s here to suggest that some topics not covered in the Essential Experiments will be addressed.

How We Do It: Values

Non-Discrimination Policy

The Eli Whitney Museum does not exclude, deny benefits to, or otherwise discriminate against any person on the ground of race, color, nation of origin, religious creed, disability, ancestry, sex, age, or sexual orientation in employment or participation in any of its programs and activities.

Pluralism & Diversity

Exploration and experiment are core values of our mission. We design programs to encourage staff and children to explore familiar and unfamiliar ideas, traditions, and perspectives. We are careful and attentive to the age and experience of our students.

Pluralism in Education
We value excellence in education. We do not believe that excellence is conferred by traditional academic institutions alone. Since a significant majority of the children we encounter will not have complete access to scholastic higher education, we endeavor to honor the traditions of workshop, apprentice and studio learning that have produced and will continue to produce significant, valued contributions. We encourage children to invest themselves in all forms of learning.

Pluralism in Interests
After 40 years of the movement to challenge barriers to the horizons of boys and girls, we still notice some patterns of interest and enrollment with uneven gender balance. Typically 80% of the enrollment in electronics classes is male; 80% of the enrollment in sewing is female. We experiment with program design to imbue broader appeal. We make sure that our offerings are equal in quality and number. The Catherine Greene Fund, named for Eli Whitney’s Muse and business partner, underwrites scholarships to encourage gifted young women to sample classes they might not otherwise contemplate. The Poly Lada Mocarski Prize honors young women apprentices who have shown exemplary leadership.

Pluralism in Language
Much of our work is communicated through the language of the senses, not through words. That makes it an especially important opportunity for children who have problems decoding language or who are new students of English. IRIS ~ Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services is a valued partner in establishing access to our programs for families new to New Haven.

Geographic Pluralism
The philosopher Buckminster Fuller designed a dymaxion globe that could be unfolded to place any continent at the center of a mat. We subscribe to Fuller’s precept that education should challenge borders and cultural hierarchies. We study play and learning around the world both to identify distinct traditions and the common values and pleasures that unite all children.

Cultural Pluralism
We design projects and programs to honor the evolution of civilizations. We explore geography: architecture,arts, commerce, and religions - the determinants of social identity. We respect distinct traditions. We underscore evidence of strength and beauty. We avoid customs or beliefs that children are not ready to understand.

Individual Differences
The children who enroll in our programs reflect the whole spectrum of differences everywhere apparent. There are children who need extra support with some of their physical or social skills. The Jack Viele Fund helps train and provide apprentices who can provide that support. We work with parents to understand and structure a learning experience that will be fulfilling for the child and enrich, not distract from, the experience of others.

Shared Resources
As an institution we engage our staff, our apprentices, and children in the support of focused projects for children in New Haven and elsewhere. Often this supports the work of former apprentices. We believe children of all ages and children with limited resources themselves, are ready to learn empathy and generosity. We believe all children need to feel they can make a difference.

1. Learn to experiment with materials.
2. Learn to read models.
3. Learn to listen to tools.
4. Learn to find help.
5. Learn to respect natural measurements.
6. Learn to improvise.
7. Learn to test.
8. Learn to choose important details.
9. Learn your own style.
10. Learn what you are ready to learn.

7 kinds of wood
6 kinds of wire
8 kinds of paper
5 kinds of glue
8 kinds of rubberbands
5 kinds of markers and paint
8 kinds of nails
5 kinds of batteries
6 kinds of string

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