Close to a month ago, William Hedstrom stepped into the shoes of Cheri McGuirk who recently retired as director of the El Campo Museum of Natural History.
“It’s going really well,” Hedstrom said. “Cheri has been super helpful.”
Hedstrom is currently making plans for children’s summertime activities at the museum, such as animal camp.
“This is my first year to do animal camp, so it will be almost identical (as in years past),” he said.
The main reason there will be no revisions to animal camp is to avoid confusion for children who already signed up for the program. In future programming, however, “I will make changes slowly,” he said.
Animal camp will run each Wednesday for eight weeks.
Hedstrom is also reintroducing another summer activity in his first year as director.
“We are bringing science camp back,” he said. “I have the freedom to make that my own.”
Science camp, to be held on Thursdays for six weeks, will allow children to become engaged in scientific experiments and activities.
“Each day we will have five hands-on experiments in the field of science,” Hedstrom said.
This will include exploring the human body, water and circuits.
“We will do hands-on demonstrations, explore different concepts that make the body do what it does,” he said.
Hedstrom believes in allowing children to do experiments themselves, and not just be an observer.
“Kids learn best when actively engaged,” he said. “Cultivating that type of space in the museum is vital to learning.”
Both summer camps are geared for children ages five and up. Hedstrom can take anywhere from 20-25 kids for each camp. Children will not be required to sign up for the entire animal camp or science camp experience, but can register for any of the particular days they wish to attend.
“They can sign up for one class, or all of them at once,” Hedstrom.
Following science camp, plans are to host “A Night at the Museum,” inspired by the movie. This evening activity is one McGuirk initiated a few years back that has been very popular. The date should be around the end of July.
Hedstrom also needs the community’s help in collecting 20-ounce soda bottles to be used for science camp.
“It would be a big help ... we will be using a lot of bottles for science camp demonstrations and experiments,” he said.
Another goal for Hedstrom is adding painted scenic backdrops to other exhibits.
“I want to continue painting more scenic backdrops, because they are gorgeous,” he said. “I don’t want to change course ... everything we have is great ... I just want to expand. We are already on a great path.”