Fun at the APS

Michael Madeja is the Head of Education Programs at the APS Library & Museum. Prior to joining the Museum team...

Those who know the organization and the staff, know the APS can be full of fun. From goofy chats with coworkers to UFO coloring books in the collections, there’s a sense of levity that’s paired with being at America’s oldest (and first) learned society and a world class library and museum. With the pandemic still limiting outreach programs, the Education Department created a few digital moments of levity for our visitors. 

Ali Rospond, the Museum Education Coordinator, our Museum Guides, and myself found it important to provide accessible, free resources on our website dedicated to our mood boosting ally: fun. Though these fun tid-bits aren’t being shared with you at a bar or in a park, here’s a quick list along with some behind the scenes stories. 

Ali and Alan at Philly Science festival
Ali Rospond and Museum Guide Alan Beyersdorf participating in the Science in the National Parks portion of the Philadelphia Science Festival

Mad libs

Plenty of correspondences in the 18th-century relied on templates to reassure writers that they were using proper etiquette. Guides and books containing these templates were published and shared widely. While building out a page dedicated to letter writing and these templates, staff kept thinking of mad libs. So, we slipped in a mad libs style activity on that page! 


Unless you’re like me (and I hope you are not) coloring is a relaxing activity. We wanted to make sure to provide not only activities for learning but also activities for relaxation in these times. Inspired by Archives Month’s #ColorOurCollections, Education Program staff members and interns have made plenty of coloring sheets based on our collections. Check out one of the spotlight videos, like this one on Peale’s Mastodon, for a little Bob Ross style narration and additional facts about the objects. 

Career Chats 

If you need a sense of how our staff interacts with each other, check out Career Chats. Made to match PA Career Education and Career Readiness standards, these conversations trek through many of the careers and jobs represented by the staff of the APS. Though a serious topic, many of the stories shared are uplifting and often left me laughing as the moderator. 

Bad Photoshop 

And, finally, the surprises of the collections and creativity levels of the staff are always impressive and often humorous. 

Franklin Jedi photoshop
Benjamin Franklin as a Jedi for May the 4th (Force) Day. Left done by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow Dr. Janine Boldt. Right done by Mike Madeja, Head of Education Programs

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