Lizzy Martin has 20+ years of experience in education, museums, and cultural and family engagement. She works with interdisciplinary teams to develop interactive and immersive exhibitions and experiences for diverse audiences.
Lizzy is excited to utilize her experiences, described below, to expand Whistling Finch’s work to reach a wider array of ages and audiences — with a special eye on teens and tweens, who are reporting increased rates of depression and anxiety. There is an evident need to reimagine the in-person, creative learning landscape, which, she deeply believes, can be addressed by increasing access to inspiring, social, and intergenerational experiences that can better support our diverse world.
Her passion lies in designing experiences that celebrate the world’s diversity of people and places. She is an avid reader, traveler, and athlete, always ready for a team sport or adventure to a new destination. One of her last trips was a hike along the Inca Trail in Peru to Machu Picchu.
“We could all use more stimulating, shared social experiences in our lives — ones that invite us to better connect with ourselves, others, and our shared environment.” - LM
Born and raised in New York City by parents who were both academics in international studies, Lizzy would often find her childhood apartment filled with their diverse students and colleagues -- as if a whirlwind had traveled the world and picked up and delivered the most majestic individuals from every corner. At first daunting to her five-year-old self, Lizzy grew to love sitting amongst the groups as they exchanged ideas, stories, and laughter. Those early and formative moments proved to her the power of being immersed in alternative models of social interactivity that blend ages, backgrounds, and expertise. She’s carried that memory with her throughout her career.
Lizzy studied sociology and anthropology at Tufts University, where she was also on the varsity collegiate rowing team. A few stints in curatorial and education departments at museums after college prompted her to return to Boston to pursue a Master’s in Museum Studies from Harvard University. Lizzy had come to realize that museums had a large opportunity to reimagine their approaches, to expand beyond object cases and white walls towards designing more compelling narratives in context-rich, interactive environments.
The need for museums to innovate became even more apparent when she began working as the lead health and athletics teacher for the newly established Excel Academy Charter Middle School in East Boston. While studying for her master’s, she was also designing unique approaches to interpret biology, nutrition, wellness, and supportive athletic contexts for the entire middle school, across 5th - 8th grades. When Lizzy looked to take her students to local museums, she noticed how the offerings were lacking in interactivity and diverse perspectives. The exhibitions were not designed to engage or effectively reflect the experiences of her curious tween students who had rich cultures from places such as Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Those years inspired her to write her master's thesis on "The Need for an Interactive World History Museum in New York City."
In 2008, Lizzy had the opportunity to join the children’s museum world, where she went on to spend fifteen years developing internationally-recognized, multicultural, immersive, and interactive exhibitions and programs for The Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Over the years, she advanced through various roles from intern, to traveling exhibits manager, exhibition developer, director of museum planning and exhibitions, and director of exhibitions.
In 2015, while still working full-time, she attended The Columbia University Business School to receive her Nonprofit Executive Leadership Education Certificate. There she expanded her understanding of effective and successful business growth and sustainability.
Over the years, she has worked with advisors, scholars, artisans, and community leaders to lead multidisciplinary teams through complex projects, ranging from global cultures to health and well-being, the arts and sciences, and early childhood brain research. Many of the exhibitions toured nationally and received positive reviews from publications such as one in The New York Times as well as another in The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, mommy blogs, MommyPoppins, UptownFlavor, MommyNearest, and international press. More about her work can be found outlined here - A Global Education for All: https://www.aam-us.org/2019/03/01/a-global-education-for-all/
Lizzy founded Whistling Finch as a company that strives to create spaces and experiences that can be accessible and engaging to an array of audiences.
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