Greetings from the 2016 Millennial Trains Project (MTP). You may be wondering what MTP is. Well, let me explain. It’s a train journey across the United States for a diverse group of young leaders and innovators. Thanks to the Fulbright Program, I am having a great trip experience and making new friends: millennials from different parts of the United States and two other Fulbright Foreign Students, one from Germany and the other from Malaysia.
I’m currently doing a master’s degree in museum studies at New York University, so when I learned about the MTP, I decided to apply to conduct research about community engagement in museums. Through my project, I want to create an awareness of the importance of collecting, preserving and interpreting local and/or regional history. One of the best ways to do this is to involve a local community and create engaging activities that will allow them to discover and interpret the world around them. Institutions like museums and cultural centers are currently evolving into spaces of knowledge and personal reflection; places where communities can go and discuss specific topics while creating their own narratives about them.
The goal of my MTP journey is to explore different participatory and engaging experiences offered by museums in order to spread the word about those activities and inspire others to create similar programs all around the world.
Over the past few days, I have visited several museums in Pittsburgh, Chicago and Kansas City, and I was able to observe an interesting variety of participatory programs: hands-on experiences, technology-related projects, and even co-curatorial art pieces with museum visitors.
We are now on our way to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and honestly, it has been by far one of the greatest experiences that I have had during my time as a Fulbrighter in the United States. Inside the train, we have had a chance to meet young leaders from different places and engage in enriching conversations. But that’s not the only thing we’ve done. The MTP staff have prepared a very balanced schedule with time allotted for attending workshops, talking with entrepreneurs, working on our respective projects, and exploring the different cities on our itinerary. We’ve also spent some time getting to know our new friends.
I will remember this trip as a great educational and personal experience and see it as an extension of my Fulbright experience; we explore, learn, develop new ideas and create friends for life.