Success Stories - Experience Music Project

The Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington is a museum dedicated to the exploration of creativity and innovation in popular music. For their recent exhibit, Taking Aim: Unforgettable Rock 'n' Roll Photographs Selected by Graham Nash, visitors were invited to participate in casual discussions about the photographs led by volunteers trained in an adapted version of Visual Thinking Strategies.

The EMP and VTS staff adapted the original VTS method to work with rock 'n' roll photography and to incorporate music and lyrics into the discussions as additional context for the visual images.

They found VTS to be a way of "drawing out thoughtful responses to popular culture which can often be very polarizing and elicit knee-jerk reactions."

The volunteers and staff reported rich interactions and thoughtful conversation about the photographs with both the general public and with middle and high school groups. Visitors also had positive comments about the technique during an educator open house, and two visitor studies during the spring.

Jennifer Hammond, Manager of Interpretation & Educator Resources, said: "VTS was a great way to get our visitors to talk to each other about what they were seeing, and worked with people of all ages and ability levels. Even Graham Nash, the rock musician who curated the exhibit, remarked on how effective VTS was at fostering conversation."