When the Pentwater Historical Museum closed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Special Event Coordinator Debbie Deward pivoted strategy and contacted the principal of Pentwater Public schools, proposing a “Social Distancing Contest” for school-aged children.
“Scott, the principal, was supportive of the idea. He was happy to post it on the school website,” reports Deward.
An April 13th post on the Pentwater Historical Society Facebook page states, “The museum isn't open, but that doesn't mean you can't access it. You can be anywhere and use your phone to call our Guide by Cell service.”
In 2019, the Pentwater Historical Society created an audio tour of 53 recorded files describing the rich history of Pentwater: sunken ships, town undertakers, Native Americans, veterans, a pump pedal organ, and more. Since April 13th, the museum has posted a daily trivia question with instructions to call the museum’s audio tour line.
After students listen to an audio clip, they can access the museum’s feedback line by pressing 0# to leave their name, grade, school, phone number, and the answer to the trivia question. Students are then entered into a contest drawing for prizes. Pictures of the happy winners are posted to Facebook.
When a recent winner received her prize package, she said, “This is exactly what I needed today.”
Originally marketed to Pentwater Schools, historical society members are invited to include their kids and grandkids from anywhere around the country.
The Pentwater Historical Museum is the perfect example of how organizations are adapting and finding creative ways to engage their community during closure.