New Director of Education and Exhibits at Tuckerton Seaport ‘Dove Right In’

Jul 12, 2017
Photo by: Pat Johnson Julie Hain, director of education and exhibits, with a new inviting installation of photos highlighting the experiences available at the Tuckerton Seaport.

The Tuckerton Seaport has an enthusiastic new director of education and exhibits, Julie Hain.

Hain has a graduate degree in the humanities specializing in art history and cultural organizations from the University of Chicago and interned at the Hyde Park Art Center and the Chicago History Museum. She also worked in the Chicago Arts District and enjoys working with artists.

Six years ago, Hain moved to Galloway Township with her husband and their two young sons.

When her youngest was old enough for childcare she returned to work and was hired by the International Sculpture Center at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton. “I did membership outreach and (organized) conferences and artists’ events.”

She applied for the position at the Seaport in May and began working with the school tours. “I was happy to do so and it was a great way to learn the background of the Seaport.

“Working with small nonprofits, you wear a lot of hats and I like that. There is something new and interesting every day,” said Hain. “I dove right in. Doing the tours was a great way to get acclimated. I learned from Trish Schuster, Karen and Paul Hart. There is a wealth of information here and they were eager to help me.

“I also got to see how the kids reacted to the different activities. It’s important to find ways to keep the information engaging, educational and exciting. We want everyone to enjoy their first visit and to keep coming back. There’s so much here. There is more than they can possibly get in one day.”

She was hired as director of education and exhibits on June 12 and with input from Executive Director Brooke Salvanto and the trustees, Hain has already created a new brochure of the Seaport’s summer programs that includes a Seaport Trivia Scavenger Hunt, a missing duck contest and a Seaport Instagram contest.

“I’d like to see the traditions remain but add some new and lively things for people to do.”

The schedule of events changes every day with Monday devoted to meeting a wood carver and boat building; Tuesday, basket making and wood carving; Wednesday, decoys and kids’ art class; Thursday, flattie decoy painting; Friday, feed the farm animals and seining; Saturday, environmental programs with environmental scientist Jessica Blanchard. This Saturday is building a bat house and on Sunday, stand-up paddle boarding with reservations and $25 additional fee.

To keep things engaging, Hain is working on changing up the exhibits. The longstanding decoy exhibit in the Hunting Shanty will be refreshed with decoys from Jim Allen’s collection. A blacksmith has been operating in a temporary space, but a new shop built by volunteers is in the works. Plus, the galleries are being rearranged with a new “Jersey Innovations” display that includes a space for basket maker Mary May to demonstrate South Jersey baskets.

Hain is also taking an online course through Baylor University with the goal of developing oral history videos of the key Seaport players: carvers and important Tuckerton citizens.

Her main goal is to impart knowledge about the area without too much tedious text. “I don’t want to prescribe history. I hope to promote the education through the lens of questions.”

— Pat Johnson





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