The Rancho Los Cerritos education department works to bring public programming to families and visitors that connects them to local Southern California history, as well as partnering with local schools, colleges, and universities to create unique learning opportunities for students. With the recent change in operations, they have been working hard to put their educational resources and programming online so that families and educators may safely enjoy learning history from home.
Rancho Los Cerritos’ Award-Winning Education Department
At the California Association of Museums’ annual conference in March of 2020, our education department received an award from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for being an outstanding example of Excellence in Museum Education with their innovative new outreach program Long Ago Long Beach. Huge congrats to all who helped make this happen, especially the entire Long Ago Long Beach team (past and present): Meighan Maguire, Tyler Shattuck, Victoria Sanchez, Alana Reese, Brian Chavez, Gaby Humes, Morgan Hofer, Zach Medeiros, Ryan Chew, Gaby Hernandez, Addison Boucher, and Erin Perkins.
Meighan is pictured below, along with representatives of the two other award-winning organizations, the CAM president, and the Superintendent’s designee.
Meighan Maguire, Education Director, joined the Rancho staff in 2003. Meighan Maguire received a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the University of California, Los Angeles and a doctorate’s degree in communication from the University of California, San Diego. Meighan manages the education programs, a job that includes teaching Rancho history and overseeing the award-winning school tour program. She also develops and implements engaging programs for youth, teens, and adults. Meighan’s goal for the Rancho education programs is that they will help guests “extract meaning from historical fact,” and thus enrich our community’s knowledge of its heritage.
Laura Willbanks coordinates the over 150 volunteers that normally greet the public, conduct visitor and student tours, care for the gardens, assist with curatorial activities, and create items for the museum shop. While volunteers are not presently able to perform these roles, Laura has been keeping in touch with volunteers by hosting virtual gatherings, a series of training classes for living history docents which includes creating a virtual tour of the historic adobe home.
Alana Reese received her B.S. in Environmental Sciences from UC Berkeley and is currently the Public Program Specialist & Outreach Coordinator at Rancho Los Cerritos. Reese is responsible for planning and implementing youth and family programs at Rancho Los Cerritos. She is drawing upon prior work and volunteer experience with children and youth ranging from infants to adolescents to develop and appear in digital content to engage these audiences. She is additionally planning virtual versions of public programs, summer day camps, and educational outreach programming.