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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.

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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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