the girl at the motorcycle museum

What if you could always self-select your activities to determine your own enjoyment and engagement? Sounds good, right?
What if then you were surrounded by people who also self-selected That experience on That day? Hmm, that could work out well.
Likely, it would turn out like my own family adventure over holiday...

My 8 year old niece Megan is a choice maker, an experimenter, an inventor.
She is sharp witted, she is colorful, she is action packed.
She is 'I can keep up with my 4 older brothers' AND she is 'I love sparkly things.'

Megan 'test rode' every demo bike at the Museum!
So, it really shouldn't have surprised me when my husband and I visited Wisconsin over holiday and planned to go on a field trip to the Motorcycle Museum one hour away from my niece's city.
I called my sister, Megan's mother, to find out if any of the big brothers or Megan would like to join us the next day at the Museum.
My sister's answer was 'Yes, Megan wants to go.' 
I said 'You are kidding?' 
My sister said 'Oh, no, really, Megan wants to go. She is already counting her money so she can go to the gift shop.' 
I said 'Really...really?'
My sister says 'Do you want to talk to her so you'll believe me?'
Me: 'Yes, Absolutely, I'd like to talk with her.'
Megan gets on the phone.
I said 'Meg, your mom said you'd like to join us to go the Motorcycle Museum?'
Megan: Oh, Yes I would.
Me: So, you know this is a different kind of museum. It doesn't have Dinosaurs nor Fancy Artwork nor Experiments for Kids to Play? It is only Full of Motorcycles.
Megan: Yes, I know. I'd like to go!

We left the next afternoon for a most memorable museum experience.
It is highly possible that Megan was more engaged and delighted by the Harley-Davidson Museum than even my engine-loving husband or my younger sister and her teen-age son!
We all wore the usual motorcycle casual attire: blue jeans and other things that are black or gray.
Gotta get low in the Race Position!
Megan wore her Mrs. Santa dress - long sleeved red velour dress that went mid-calf and had a white furry collar. She also wore the fluffy cuffed toe-socks that we gave her for Christmas. She carried a blue jean purse with special zippers. She was all set. Period.

The HD Museum actually had an amazing Scavenger Hunt for children when we entered: Megan got a clipboard, a pencil, and a photo flip chart of 12 cool motorcycles with clues to find them throughout the museum. She was focused and completely rose to the challenge to find these specific motorcycles to complete her game. Megan read clues and read signs and re-read clues. She got some "help" in the search from my wonderful nephew Dan and my sister Jeri.
Later, Megan got a prize of stickers and a wash-away HD tattoo for completing the Scavenger Hunt. Megan shopped in the Gift Shop with her special money from her special purse. She bought something for herself and gifts for her whole family. She was all set.
Megan could be a poster child for "How to Love Going to a Museum."

Megan, clipboard & purse: Studying the Robot that makes special moto parts!
The Harley-Davidson Museum was a huge success.
It was a huge success because an 8 year old girl named Megan Self-Selected to go with us to unlikely place.
I could write more, more, more, but really, Megan had a great time because she Chose to be there.

It is that simple.
Red sparkle dress, furry socks, blue jean zipper purse = Ready for the Motorcycle Museum.

The clear connection to our Early Childhood Education practice: 
Trust children to choose their own experiences. Trust children to want to engage in experiences that interest them. Trust children.


  1. I enjoyed your entry re ""I thought I heard your voice". I so relate to that. Even at 75 years old you like to be recognized and called by name!

    I'm constantly amazed how you see the world, especially through the eyes of a child. That's why you are so successful in teaching children! And, I'm especially proud — because you're my daughter! —Mom

  2. @MyMom - from one writer to another: Thank you for the endless support for anything I do (well or not) and having been (and continue to be) the best teacher I ever had :)

  3. Glad to see you're back 'at work', Jeanne. I've missed 'you'.
    Happy New Year!

  4. What a beautiful post Jeanne! That day was truly magical having Megan there! I also agree that Megans 'choosing your own experience' is what made it so enjoyable for her and all of us :)

  5. @Pam - thanks for the good cheer! Gotta visit your school for some inspiration soon!

  6. @Jeri - Agreed, what a great day! Of course, YOU were super fun, too, but that was no surprise :)


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