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Spinale, Tracie

Learning Programs Manager

Background And Education

Education And Training

Professional Biography

  • I collaborate with communities to create cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary learning experiences. I organize opportunities for museum professionals, educators, students, and related audiences, focused on informal learning. I've organized programs for a variety of audiences--ranging from teens with cognitive disabilities to Tibetan monastics in India. I manage intern and fellows programs, as well as the Smithsonian Secretary's Youth Advisory Council for Dr. David Skorton. I am also responsible for student privacy and security in the Learning Lab. If you enjoyed the Learning Lab's FAQ--that was me! I've worked at the Smithsonian since 2000, and for ten years I managed over 1,400 yearly internship appointments at the Smithsonian. I have a Master's Degree in Museum Studies from The George Washington University (1998), and studied Anthropology and museums at Beloit College (1996). I love learning and travel, being a mom to two amazing teens, Boxer dogs, and thin-crust pizza.

Public Biography

  • As a Program Manager at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC since 2000, Tracie Spinale works at the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA), collaborating with communities to create cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary learning experiences. She organizes professional develop opportunities for museum professionals, educators, students, and related audiences, focused on education and informal learning within museums. In 2016, Tracie developed the Smithsonian Secretary's Youth Advisory Council for Dr. David Skorton, connecting Smithsonian leadership to the opinions of youth through a series of dialogues and meetings. Tracie manages collections screening for the Smithsonian Learning Lab, as well as privacy policy implementation around users' published collections and youth content. Tracie organizes the Fellowships in Museum Practice program, providing research opportunities for mid- to senior level museum professionals to explore the intersections of theory and practice, and was content manager of museumstudies.si.edu. For ten years, Tracie was the director for internships at the Smithsonian, providing training to 1,400 students yearly. Previous collaborations have included the All Access Digital Arts Program—an informal education program for teens with cognitive disabilities, that creates digital learning opportunities and social inclusion experiences, based on Smithsonian museum content. She is a faculty member in the Sager Science Leadership Institute, supporting Tibetan Buddhist monastic science leadership development by facilitating collaborative learning through the creation of community exhibitions—World of Your Senses (2010) and My Earth, My Responsibility (in progress). Tracie has a MA in Museum Studies from The George Washington University (1998), and a BA in Anthropology from Beloit College (1996).

Research And Grants

Research Overview

  • Bridging the education and accessibility gap between museums and individuals with cognitive and intellectual disabilities requires a more thorough consideration of access beyond physical entrance to museum spaces. Education outreach by museums through the Internet focuses on social media promotion and collections digitization. However, research in the field of self-determination for teens and young adults with disabilities reveals a significant gap in the areas of lifetime learning and community engagement. Museums can provide a coherent space for teens with cognitive disabilities to focus on their individual passions, develop new interests, and creatively express themselves. Social media is rapidly becoming a venue not only for communication between social peers, but also the medium through which that interaction takes place. The All Access Digital Arts Program is a museum-based program at the Hirshhorn’s ArtLab designed for teens with various cognitive and intellectual disabilities centered on museum learning, technology, and social skills. Through in-person and online activities, All Access explored interest-driven learning and skill acquisition in technology domains, leading to student-generated creative expressions using new media. Teens gained social skills related to museum exploration, making and maintaining friendships, and digital citizenship. Such skills are critical to sustaining access to lifetime learning and community engagement.

    Abstract from: All Access: Empowering Teens with Educational Disabilities to Engage and Create in Museums 

Investigator On

Activities

Outreach Overview

  • Cultural services educator with experience delivering multi-disciplinary professional development and training programs to adult and youth audiences in the museum sector. In program management, I plan, manage, and implement intensive museum professional training and facilitate dialogue on a variety of current museum topics. Create experiential learning experiences—determine learning outcomes, select content, instructional method, and assessments; and evaluate outcomes. In the Learning Lab, I develop content to support teacher and student-centered learning experiences, and coordinate online data privacy and security issues for the Smithsonian Learning Lab. I also coordinate academic appointments and volunteers at the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access.

Teaching Overview

  • Cultural services educator with 18 years experience delivering multi-disciplinary professional development and training programs to adult and youth audiences in the museum sector:

    • SCIENCE FOR MONKS AND NUNS (2010-2015) Community exhibition development with monastic participants in the Science for Monks and Nuns Program, in association with the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (Dharamsala, India). Collaborated with science learners to develop community exhibitions around the themes of Buddhist and Western science perspectives of the senses (World of Your Senses) and climate change (My Earth, My Responsibility). Smithsonian Learning Lab collection for WOYS here. 

    • ALL ACCESS DIGITAL ARTS PROGRAM (2010-2014)
      Managed the All Access Digital Arts Program—created digital and blended learning opportunities and social inclusion experiences, based upon Smithsonian content, for teens with cognitive and intellectual disabilities. Program included monthly Saturday club meetings (January – June 2014) and a summer camp (August 2010-2014). Created curriculum for clubs with partners from Hirshhorn Museum’s Art Lab+, Smithsonian Accessibility Program.  Researched applicable Smithsonian content to support themes. Link to activities and plans here.

Reviewer Of

Teaching Activities

Organizer Of Event

Professional Service Activities

Outreach And Community Service Activities

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