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Media Literacy

Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s newest exhibit teaches community about media literacy


KALAMAZOO, MI– Kalamazoo Valley Museum is hosting a new exhibit called, ‘Wonder Media: Ask the Questions,’ to inspire the Kalamazoo community to get excited about media literacy.

The 14-element interactive exhibit is scattered across two floors of the museum and invites visitors to learn about media literacy through fun games and stories.

This project is the brainchild of presidential innovation professor in communication at Western Michigan University, Sue Ellen Christian. A few years back, Christian wrote the book, “Everyday Media Literacy: An Analog Guide for Your Digital Life,” to teach media literacy to the classes she taught full of students from different majors across the university.

But after writing the book, Christian wanted to continue to share her knowledge about media literacy and news literacy. Christian knew her book wasn’t the most exciting way to extend her knowledge.

“While I think it’s a good book, it’s not for all ages,” Christian said. “And so I pitched this concept to the museum.”

Through a contracted Ohio-based fabrication team brought on by Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Christian’s concepts of interactive lessons in media literacy turned into a reality as the exhibit was visualized. Christian also worked with an advisory team of local and national experts when fine-tuning their concepts.

“But the real experts in this, in my opinion, have been what I call my consultants: my middle school consultants,” Christian said.

She visited over 30 middle schoolers from Detroit, East Lansing, Coldwater and the Kalamazoo Area with her conceptualizations to get their opinions on how the lessons were taught. Since her target audience in this exhibit are middle school students, she wanted their input on what was “dumb” or “cringy” and what made the students like other characters better.

“It seems like a win-win for two educational institutions, WMU and KVCC to come together,” Christian said. “Because that’s what we do in this community.”

The exhibit will be a part of the Kalamazoo Valley Museum into 2023 and is available to the public through the museum’s regular operating hours.

General admission to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum is free. Public hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 am to noon and 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm


So on MLive:

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