This week the spotlight falls on Jennifer Pictou, the Museum’s Supervisor of Educational Programs and a person with interests and talents that will delight, surprise and maybe even shock you!
1. How long have you been employed at Mystic Seaport?
JP: I’ll be completing my first year next week. For 16 years I worked in the field of public programming, alias culture and community programming, and for 6 years prior to coming on staff here, I worked for the Pequot Museum.
2. What’s the best part of your job?
JP: Approximately 28,000 school children matriculate through Mystic Seaport’s various programs some from as far away as Ohio. I really enjoy working with their teachers and acting as a liaison with our teaching staff. I handle the daytime programs and Hallie Payne supervises the overnight programs.
3. What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
JP: Keeping Museum programs current with school programming and legislation requirements like No Child Left Behind. That entails being up-to-date on priorities and trends in all areas of education. Our Museum programs are designed to help teachers prepare students for the CT Mastery Test by using current curriculum frameworks. When they come to Mystic Seaport, it’s not just a field trip we try to make it a fun learning adventure.
4. What’s the funniest or most notable on-the-job experience you’ve had?
JP: Fishing a student’s digital camera out of the Mystic River not an easy task. His camera flew out of his pocket while he was cranking the rope making apparatus. It turned out the camera was an inexpensive disposable, not the expensive kind I thought it was! Oh well, it was still important to him.
5. What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
JP: It’s hard to name just one. My newest passion is taking my Standard Schnauzer, Rosco, to play flyball. It’s a sport where teams of four dogs race a track, retrieve a ball and return it. Fastest team wins. I’m training Rosco at My Dog’s Place in Mystic for his first tournament with the “Seaside Sprinters.”
My ongoing passion is something I have studied for over 20 years. I’m a 3rd degree Black Belt in Ketsugo (a form of mixed martial arts). I compete in tournaments four times a year and have been a regionally rated fighter in the AKL/PKL (amateur and professional karate league); I’ve also won championships in Ju-Jitsu (throwing). I have taught martial arts to students age 5 to 75, but I feel strongest about teaching and encouraging women to learn self-defense. Martial arts is a great stress reliever and self-confidence builder for anyone.
Time permitting, I enjoy making jewelry, but right now I’m busy doing research for my Master’s thesis in American and New England Studies with an emphasis on museum work, of course!
Jennifer was interviewed by Museum Volunteer Trudi Busey and photographed by Dennis Murphy.