Broadening Teens' Horizons: TMH Academy

1, October 2017
Photo of TMH Academy participants working togetherDuring the last two weeks of TMH Academy, teens demonstrate what they've learned with a project of their own design.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it? Design and create a pop-up exhibit that includes and connects the special objects your team members have brought from home.

This is just one example of a museum challenge that teens will be undertaking in the next Teens Make History (TMH) Academy, set to begin in January. Now in its seventh year, the Academy is an eight-week museum studies workshop for St. Louis–area high school students. After school ends on Thursday afternoons, participants meet with professional staff from different departments at the Missouri History Museum and talk with them about their jobs. On Saturdays students put what they’ve learned to the test through challenges that mimic museum projects on a smaller scale, allowing them to cultivate their creativity and problem-solving skills. Because all of the activities in the Academy are team based, participants also build key teamwork skills such as listening, positivity, and respect.

Photo of TMH Academy students touring coservation lab TMH Academy students get behind-the-scenes tours of areas such as our conservation lab.

Applications for the 2018 TMH Academy are being accepted now through Saturday, November 25. Applicants will then be contacted to set up a formal interview with TMH staff at the Missouri History Museum.

Academy graduates consistently share that the experience helped them build professional skills and allowed them to interact with other high school students they wouldn’t have met otherwise. But don't just take our word for it. Here are testimonials from some of the graduates themselves:

“One of the first activities we did in the Teens Make History Academy was speed meeting, a crude version of speed dating intended for us to get to know one another quickly. I didn’t know what to expect from my first partner, but in just 30 seconds I learned he was also mixed race and played the same video games as me. Despite all our outward differences, we were quite similar. This was the first of many things I learned as I progressed through the Academy.”—Elisa, TMH Academy 2016

Photo of TMH Academy students doing marshmallow challengeIn addition to museum challenges, TMH Academy students participate in team-building activities designed to build professional skills and encourage self-reflection.

“I found out that I’m a leader, and now as a person, I need to start advancing my leadership skills. I have been able to witness other teens’ creativity, knowledge, and leadership skills as well. Throughout this program I have learned about different jobs in the History Museum that I found very fascinating and wanted to know more about.”—LaMont, TMH Academy 2015

“I have learned a lot about myself and the people around me. It has really helped me improve my teamwork skills and the way I present myself to others. It helped me open my mind and thoughts to others. I branched out from the people that I normally hang around and have seen my personality blossom into something more bright than what it was a couple of weeks ago. It has really helped me with my communication skills and my understanding that everyone is different. I listen more and really try harder to incorporate other people’s ideas.”—Zariah, TMH Academy 2015

The 2018 TMH Academy will begin Thursday, January 11, and run through Saturday, March 3. It will meet from 3:30pm to 5:30pm on Thursdays and from 10am to 2pm on Saturdays. Because no teen program is complete without food (of course), snacks and lunch will be provided. Also, students who successfully graduate from the Academy will receive a stipend and be eligible to apply for a long-term, paid apprenticeship in museum theatre or exhibitions with Teens Make History—a job teens can keep until they graduate from high school!

As Zoe, a member of the 2015 TMH Academy said, “If you are a teenager looking for a good time, meeting new people you would have never talked to on the streets, I encourage you to apply. You will have the best time of your high school experience, and the friendships you make here, they will carry on when you leave.”

Photo of the 2015 TMH Academy studentsTMH Academy participants consider meeting teens from other St. Louis–area high schools one of the best parts of the program.

—Ellen Kuhn, Teen and Adult Interpretive Programs Coordinator

Membership appeal