Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation: Ambassador Training

Photo of the lobby of BLGD 92 showing a large anchor and visitor services desk with a staff member and group of visitors gathered around it

Visitor services trainings for security and front-line staff // 2014

This interactive training session for the security staff at the Brooklyn Navy Yard focused on visitor interaction, customer service, and anticipating and adapting to the needs of visitors, including people with disabilities. Led by Cindy VandenBosch, this session explored scenarios and proposed strategies for anticipating and addressing the needs of the wide range of visitors that come to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92 in efforts to provide a more welcoming experience for all, including first-time visitors, area residents seeking employment services, and people with visible and invisible disabilities. With training tools and examples drawn from real-life scenarios at BLDG 92, topics covered included tools and tips for positive and proactive visitor engagement, a basic review of effective communication strategies and barrier-free aspects of the the American with Disabilities Act, and interactive exercises to generate group-based discussion on effective practices specific to BLDG 92.

Rochester Institute of Technology: Oral History in Museums and Public History

Presentation at Rochester Institute of Technology, Department of Museum Studies // 2013

Cindy VandenBosch was invited to speak with students and faculty in an undergraduate Oral History class in the Department of Museum Studies about Turnstile’s experience collecting, preserving, and utilizing oral history in the creation of tours, public programs, and online content. She spoke about her experience documenting stories of vendors and neighborhood residents in and around Brooklyn’s Moore Street Market, the use of oral history in our programs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and her past work at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.

Singapore Tourism Board & National Heritage Board: Guided Tour Consulting

Guided Tour Consulting for the Attractions and Experience Development Series in Singapore // 2013

Staff from Turnstile Tours and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum were invited to Singapore by the country’s Tourism Board, Association of Singapore Attractions, Workforce Development Agency, and the National Heritage Board to provide trainings and consultations on storytelling skills and developing more engaging, interactive guided tours for cultural institutions, tourist attractions, and tour companies. As part of a professional development series entitled “Delivering the Story,” Turnstile Tours’ Cindy VandenBosch and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum’s Director of Education Miriam Bader conducted a half-day seminar, full-day masterclass, and keynote lectures on topics such as multi-sensory engagement on tours, training and retaining guides, responding to visitor feedback, current trends and practices in museum education and tourism, and community-based partnerships for cultural programming. 

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NYC Museum Educators Roundtable: Oral History in a Public Context

Presentation at the New York City Museum Educators Roundtable Annual Conference // 2013

“Oral History in a Public Context: Fostering Human Connections with Broader Public Meanings”

This conference session, organized by Cindy VandenBosch, included case study presentations and facilitated small group discussions to examine how oral history can be used effectively in a variety of museum-based projects, from apps to place-making activities, walking tours to educational programs, as a means of fostering personal connections with the past, and with broader public meanings. The goal of the session was to allow participants to discuss the challenges and rewards of documenting and telling the stories of people and places that are not well documented, and of using both old and new methods and technologies to connect the public with those stories, and their contemporary implications. Presenters included Cindy VandenBosch, who discussed Turnstile’s project to record 20+ oral histories with vendors and neighborhood residents in and around Brooklyn’s Moore Street Market, and Andrew Gustafson, who discussed the use of oral history in the Brooklyn Navy Yard World War II Tour to not only tell the stories of shipyard workers and sailors during this time period, but also as a tool to elicit tourgoers to share their own experiences and family stories. The panel also included Molly Garfinkel, director of Place Matters, and Hanna Griff-Sleven, Director of Cultural Programming at the Museum at Eldridge Street.

St. Nick’s Alliance: Tour Consulting

Support for development of neighborhood tour offered by a non-profit organization // 2012

During the spring of 2012, Turnstile Tours provided support to staff members at St. Nick’s Alliance to develop and offer a walking tour focused on sites of historical significance in Williamsburg, a neighborhood in North Brooklyn, that wove together stories of sites, residents, and the organization’s impact over time on issues related to affordable housing, crime, care for senior citizens, public art, and youth programs. Turnstile Tours provided support by providing feedback on place-based storytelling techniques, incorporation of primary sources, past-present connections, and methods for engaging attendees.

Neighborhood Women: Tour Consulting

Technical assistance in walking tour development for neighborhood placemaking initiative // 2012

Turnstile founder Cindy VandenBosch provided support to Neighborhood Women, a non-profit organization based in North Brooklyn, to help shape and develop a walking tour based on the stories of female community leaders as part of a place-marking initiative. Cindy provided feedback to the tour development team on techniques for incorporating personal stories within the context of larger neighborhood issues, while using visual cues, primary sources, and audience participation to support storytelling.  Feedback and support was also provided regarding logistical implementation of the tour, from designing a realistic, achievable route to staying on time and providing locations for attendees to sit down and rest throughout the experience.