She’s Crafty

July 21, 2011 at 8:58 pm Leave a comment

You may not know Kristy Richardson, but if you’ve attended one of Fernbank’s family fun days (Pirate & Princess Day, Dinosaur Birthday Bash, etc.) you’ve definitely seen her handiwork.

As Fernbank’s Family Programs Specialist, one of Kristy’s primary responsibilities is to coordinate educational programming for families and children at the Museum. This includes developing hands-on activities that are both educational AND fun. It’s not always an easy task. “We want to offer something different and fun, but also are mindful to put an educational spin on things, to stay focused on our mission.”

Another major duty for Kristy is managing the Museum’s youth volunteer program, F.U.N. She is responsible for recruiting, training, scheduling and supervising the 60 volunteers currently in the program.

Kristy (black dress, near center) shows off her best "mythic" pose with F.U.N volunteers.

Kristy clearly enjoys working with the F.U.N. volunteers, perhaps that’s due in part to her own experience. She’s been working in science museums since she was 15 years old, starting as a youth volunteer herself at COSI (Center of Science and Industry) in Columbus, OH. She visited COSI with a girls scout troop and had an opportunity to interact with current youth volunteers and was hooked. “I’m a museum junkie,” she says jokingly. (All joking aside, it’s been our benefit!)

COSI was good to Kristy. In addition to giving her great experience, it’s also where she met her husband, Noel.

Even with five years under her belt at the Museum, it would be impossible to describe an average workday for Kristy. She might be researching science-themed activities for Weekend Wonders, creating samples of a craft, making sure we have F.U.N. coverage for busy Museum days or you might find her during an event, alongside volunteers helping kids make a pirate sword, gecko hat or another crafty-yet-educational activity. “Every day is different—but that something I love about my job. I’m learning new things every day,” she said.

Even though Kristy works closely with a lot of different departments at the Museum, something most people would find surprising? She used to train rats to play basketball.

Yes, rats. Playing basketball. The basketball playing rodents were part of a COSI demonstration, and her skills as a “coach” landed her on episode of “Pet Stars” on Animal Planet. (Note: His people had no comment, but it seems Mario Lopez is not a fan of rats.)

Fernbank may not offer her a chance to train rats, but we hope it continues to offer her new learning experiences, just as she continues to contribute to our programming, for many years to come.

Seriously. Rats. Basketball. How funny!

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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At Fernbank Museum, there’s much more than dinosaurs and giant-screen films. Even with our website, e-newsletters, Facebook pages and Twitter updates, there’s still a lot we’d like to share with you. This blog is an opportunity for the people that keep Fernbank running and constantly expanding, to share stories from their point of view. We hope you’ll enjoy these first-hand, behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes into keeping a world-class natural history museum running. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on these stories, to hear your personal experiences and hear any suggestions for topics. Happy reading!

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