Technical production assistance for virtual public program // 2021 and 2022
Turnstile Studio provided pre-production, training, coordination, and production services to Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s staff for their annual community event, Making Brooklyn Bloom, which was held on Zoom in March 2021 and 2022 with hundreds of participants both years. This work included creating a production plan and run-of-show to make the online event as interactive as possible, training the staff, volunteers, and guest speakers on relevant Zoom features and production tasks, managing a Facebook Live stream, directing all visual and audio features of the broadcast, coordinating with American Sign Language interpreters, and facilitating other accessibility accommodations.
Chancellor’s Day workshop for New York City teachers // 2019
Turnstile collaborated with Brooklyn Connections of the Brooklyn Public Library to develop and host a day-long professional development workshop for history and social studies teachers. The program included lectures and tours on the history of the Brooklyn Army Terminal and its transformation from a military base to a nonprofit industrial park. Brooklyn Connections provided participants with take-home primary sources and lesson ideas to help students create connections between major historical themes and local history through the Brooklyn Army Terminal.
Staff Training and Capacity Building for Accessibility // 2019–2022
Starting in 2019, Turnstile was engaged by Brooklyn Botanic Garden to act as the key consultant in the implementation of a multi-year grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services titled “Expanding BBG’s Welcome,” which seeks to further advance accessibility of the site for people of all abilities through staff training and professional development. Turnstile conducted a baseline internal assessment of the experience and knowledge of staff related to accessibility through observations, surveys, and focus groups by department. Using the results of the assessment, Turnstile designed and has led training workshops for over 200 frontline staff across the institution that have been customized by departmental roles and have focused on practical interactions with visitors. Turnstile has also developed a range of learning modules on accessibility-related topics, including empathy-building, physical navigation and wayfinding, and multimodal communication strategies, that are being incorporated into in-house staff trainings and provides ongoing support to the Garden’s accessibility initiatives, including facilitating connections with disability service providers and advocates to serve as advisors and trainers, the roll-out of accessible services, programs, and signage, and supporting interdepartmental coordination on crafting institutional policies and procedures.
Professional Development Workshop and Capacity-Building Resources // 2017
In the spring of 2017, Turnstile Studio was contracted by Green-Wood Cemetery to develop and conduct a customized professional development workshop for their tour guides and staff with a focus on techniques and best practices for providing an inclusive and engaging experience for all visitors. In addition to the training workshop, Turnstile’s team produced capacity-building resources for the institution, including training materials and resources for future workshops, as well as a report with recommendations related to visitor engagement on tours of Green-Wood based on tour observations, assessment of online and printed visitor materials, and best practices across the museum and tourism fields.
Professional Development Workshop for Public Humanities Fellows // 2016–2018
Turnstile hosted a two-part professional development workshop for three cohorts of Public Humanities Ph.D. Fellows at Humanities New York that explored the challenges and opportunities of creating publicly accessible resources and programming with community partners, informants, and collaborators. Using the Food Cart Tour as a common reference point, combined with a series of facilitated activities, workshop participants shared ideas, questions, and concerns about their respective community-oriented projects, learned about and discussed logistical and ethical considerations for designing and implementing public-facing projects, and reviewed project management tools that support facilitating mutually beneficial collaboration with community partners.
Engaging Guided Tours: Techniques and Best Practices // 2016
On October 28, 2016, Cindy VandenBosch and Andrew Gustafson of Turnstile Tours led a workshop at the City University of New York’s Center for the Humanities as part of Afterlives: Place, Memory, Story, a day-long conference hosted by the Public History Collective. This workshop introduced attendees to best practices in developing and delivering guided tour experiences that are accessible, engaging, and rigorously researched. Through case studies drawn from Turnstile’s extensive experience in the field, and through modeling practices, participants learned about strategies for developing content for place-based learning, storytelling techniques, group management, as well as other approaches to ensure that visitors have an enjoyable and educational tour experience that is meaningfully connected to the tour’s location.
Presentations on tour development and storytelling // 2016
Turnstile’s Andrew Gustafson was invited to attend a two-day workshop in Singapore hosted by the Tourism Board’s Tour & Industry Development team and attended by local tour operators, attractions, and guides. Andrew facilitated a workshop and presentation, “Developing Quality Tour Content,” on tour development, guide training, and effective visitor engagement techniques, and delivered the keynote address on the second day of the program, “Delivering the Story: Storytelling Techniques for Guided Tours,” drawing on Turnstile Tours’ experience with multi-sensory engagement, narrative development, and guide evaluation. Andrew also visited several attractions in Singapore and provided feedback on guide technique and interpretation, including the Chinatown Heritage Center and Singapore City Tours.
Training Workshops and Resources for Staff and Volunteers // 2016
Turnstile Studio was contracted by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to conduct a series of training workshops, develop training tools and materials, and provide recommendations to further enhance accessibility and visitor engagement for both children and adults. This project involved two separate accessibility training workshops with staff, K–12 instructors, Discovery Docents, and Garden Guides and the development of training resources to support the institution’s continuing efforts to provide welcoming experiences to visitors with disabilities. Turnstile staff conducted on-site observations of guided tours, school programs, and the Discovery Garden; created tailor-made training resources and evaluation tools for general public tours and the Discovery Garden; developed a train-the-trainers lesson plan with supplementary training materials and resources; supported the inaugural pilot early morning opening of the Discovery Garden for families with children who have disabilities; and delivered reports with assessments and recommendations based on observations and best practices in the field for future capacity-building efforts.
Research and content development for STEM-based K–12 programs // 2014
Turnstile was commissioned by the Brooklyn Historical Society (now known as the Center for Brooklyn History at the Brooklyn Public Library) and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92 to create a research document about STEM and sustainability-related topics, both historical and contemporary, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This research project was designed to be the content foundation for the development of STEM-based K-12 programs at the Yard.
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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.