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Student Story: A passion for museum education

I was lucky enough to figure out my passion in life early. As a teenager, I decided that I wanted to study Art History and French and then work in museum education. Study abroad was always part of the plan, and IFE was just right for me.

Teaching at Le Musée en Herbe, a small children’s art museum in Paris, turned out to be perfect. I got to teach adorable little French children every day! Le Musée en Herbe is all about learning through fun and interactive experiences, a philosophy I have adopted with fervor. Having already applied to George Washington University’s Museum Education Master’s program, I was on my way. I had interned in museums before, but IFE and Le Musée en Herbe gave me my first opportunity to teach on a regular basis (each week I taught about 100 children ages 2 to 12). When it came time for my interview with my dream graduate program, I had a lot of museum education experience to draw upon. I told them how I had learned to explain Surrealism to a two-year-old, support children’s right to be creative, and help foster critical thinking skills, all while everyone was having fun. I still keep in touch with my fellow teachers and visited them when I returned to Paris for my honeymoon.

About halfway through IFE, I received word of my acceptance to the Museum Education Program. And a mere five weeks after graduating from William & Mary, I was able to bring my teaching experiences at Le Musée en Herbe to my graduate studies. My time in Paris shaped me as an educator, and I still see the effects in my teaching today. Having completed my Master’s, I am teaching children of all ages in multiple museums in Washington D.C.: The National Gallery of Art, the National Building Museum, The Phillips Collection, and the Spy Museum. I’m doing exactly what I set out to do and loving every minute of it.

Carolyn Armbruster.
(The College of William & Mary – 2011)
Paris FSI Program – Fall 2010

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