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Museums and Improv Comedy?

by Bob Beatty, AASLH on

whos-line-is-it-anywayOver at the Tufts Museum Studies blog, Madeline Karp has posted the latest entry in the Dispatches from the Mid-Atlantic series, “Whose Program is this Anyway?

Her entry likens classroom outreach programs to improv comedy, specifically the need to go “off script” from time to time. She notes:

Now, it’s not that I don’t like the script – it’s proved enormously helpful time and again – but it’s more that working with classrooms (and classrooms full of young children in particular) you need to be ready for pretty much anything. 

kids don’t know the script. They don’t even know that I have a script. It’s exactly as Drew Carey always said at the start of Whose Line, “everything’s made up and the points don’t matter.”

and …when it comes to museum programs, by all means have a script. Know your script. Know permutations of your script. But don’t live and die by your script. Think of it more as a guideline than an actual rule. (Just like pirates: “The code is more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.”)

I agree wholeheartedly that education and outreach programs are very much a balancing act between scripted and unscripted material and very much like Madeline’s analogy with improv above.

Plus, it gave me a few minutes of chuckles while I looked at some snippets of “Whose Line is it Anyway?” looking for the image I included here.

(What? You want to know where to find them? I’ll make it easy for you: http://whoselineonline.org/)

What are your thoughts about scripted vs. unscripted?

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