Training and Assessment for Institutional Capacity Building for Accessibility
Turnstile Studio is currently serving as a primary consultant on Expanding Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Welcome, a three-year project that aims to set a new institution-wide baseline for inclusively welcoming and serving visitors with disabilities to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. In Year One (2019), Turnstile Studio is conducting a baseline assessment across all visitor-facing departments through focus groups, surveys, and workshops; supporting the formation of a best practices working group and an inter-departmental task force; designing and facilitating accessibility training workshops and materials tailored to each department for all front-line staff (security, visitor services, education, horticulture, etc.); and providing analysis and recommendations for short- and long-term capacity-building efforts.
Professional Development Workshop and Capacity-Building Resources
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.
Designing for Public Engagement: Tour and Professional Development Workshop
In 2016 and 2017, Turnstile hosted a Food Cart Tour of the Financial District at lunchtime, followed by a two-part professional development workshop for 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
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.
Training Workshops and Resources for Staff and Volunteers
In the winter and spring of 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.
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Research and content development for STEM-based K-12 programs
In 2014, Turnstile was commissioned by the Brooklyn Historical Society 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.>> Continue reading
Visitor services trainings for security and front-line staff
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.
Guided Tour Consulting for the Attractions and Experience Development Series in Singapore, November 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.>> Continue reading
Support for development of neighborhood-based tour offered by a non-profit organization
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.