Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s new exhibit teaches the community about media literacy

KALAMAZOO, MI– The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is hosting a new exhibit, “Wonder Media: Ask the Questions,” to inspire the Kalamazoo community to get excited about media literacy.

The 14-part interactive exhibit is spread over two floors of the museum and invites visitors to learn about media literacy through fun games and stories.

This project is the brainchild of Presidential Professor of Communication Innovation at Western Michigan University, Sue Ellen Christian. A few years ago, Christian wrote the book “Everyday Media Literacy: An Analog Guide for Your Digital Life”, to teach media literacy to classes she taught to students from different disciplines across the university. .

But after writing the book, Christian wanted to continue sharing his knowledge on media literacy and information literacy. Christian knew that his book was not the most exciting way to deepen his knowledge.

“While I think it’s a good book, it’s not for all ages,” Christian said. “And so I presented this concept to the museum.”

Through his contract manufacturing team and advisory team from Kalamazoo Valley Community College and WMU, his interactive media literacy lesson concepts became a reality as the exhibit was viewed.

“But the real subject matter experts, in my opinion, have been what I call my consultants: my college consultants,” Christian said.

She visited more than 30 middle school students in Detroit, East Lansing, Coldwater, and the Kalamazoo area with her conceptualizations to get their feedback on how the lessons were being taught. Since her target audience in this exhibit are middle schoolers, she wanted their input on what was “stupid” or “grippy” and what made the students relate more to the other characters.

“It seems like a win-win situation for two educational institutions, WMU and KVCC, to come together,” Christian said. “Because that’s what we do in this community.”

The exhibit will be part of the Kalamazoo Valley Museum until 2023 and is accessible to the public during regular museum hours.

General admission to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum is free. Public hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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Donnie J. Milburn