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Welcome to Stuff You Missed in History Class A production of I Heart Radio. Hello and welcome to the podcast, I'm Holly Fry, and I'm Tracy B. Wilson. So a while back, I got to participate in an online class session with the National Constitution Center. They wanted me to talk about White House history after we did our two parter and despite having been really, really nervous about it, because as they were telling me, oh, students from all over can be asking questions.
I was like, oh, but I had an amazing time. And that is all because of today's guests. Cory Sautner The instant I started talking with Curry, I wanted to have her on the show. Curry is the chief learning officer at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, and she's passionate about the fact that the Constitution is for everyone. That's obvious when you hear her talk about it. So let's jump right into our chat.
So I am, again, so incredibly delighted that I have Curry Sautner with me here today. So first, since to me, you're kind of the face of the National Constitution Center because you're the person who I have talked with most there. Will you just tell us about what the NCC is? Absolutely.
So, first of all, it's a great organization that teaches all about the United States Constitution. And I'm really happy to be on talking about it today. The National Constitution Center is a museum in Philadelphia that has amazing exhibits looking at the Constitution from before the Constitution existed and was written in Philadelphia all the way through to modern conversations in cases. So the idea behind the museum that I love so much is that it's all about we, the people. So we love to talk about the Constitution.
We love to talk about which amendment is it, what's the case law around this. But what you really wrap around and what that museum does so well is talk about all the people in every way that ensure that that Constitution isn't just a written document, but it's a practical document that works. And so that's really what matters is the story of the people and the actions that they took, both good and bad, to ensure the Constitution is the document we want it to be.
So that's my favorite part about the museum. And we always think about it as it's the National Constitution Center that tells the story of the people. And then how do you fit into that conversation, not just by visiting, but by the actions that you do with the Constitution and in your life? I love that so much.
My my soapbox topic is always that, like, we are all part of history being made all the time. Well, you don't have to sit in the seat of government to be a part of the actions that are creating history that will be important years from now. So that is so near and dear to my heart. How long has the National Constitution Center been around? How did it start?
It's a great question and it's a really fascinating story. So the Constitution was signed in seventeen eighty seven, September 17th. Seventeen eighty seven. That's like our big birthday. It's written and signed in Philadelphia. We are on the building itself is on the most historic square mile in America. But teaching about the Constitution is something happens in the building, but also online. We're a little different than most museums that we have a place, but that most people know us from our online educational tools.
So it started off with this idea that there should be a place and there should be an organization that teaches about the Constitution in a nonpartisan way. That first idea was actually one hundred years after the Constitution was signed. So it was eighteen eighty seven. They got the idea there was a group in Congress that said, oh, it's one hundred years, we should do something. And of course, just like all things move in government, another hundred years went by and then there was actually, you know, even more energy.
So it was nineteen eighty seven that Congress got back on it. They're like, OK, it's a hundred years later, we really got to do it this time. And then it took the entire year to get that written as a joint act. So it's like the Constitution Heritage Act. And so it was September 16th, the day before Constitution Day seven, I mean, nineteen eighty eight that Reagan signed it into law. And this was a joint partisan effort.
And the idea behind it was that there would be a place that teaches about the United States Constitution, that it would be in Philadelphia, near Independence Hall, where it happened, the place in the land where it happened. But the mandate was to teach all people about the United States Constitution. And this is why we're different than most museums that were not just a museum. That's just one kind of like appendage of who we are, where this institution that brings people together in all different ways online and through our writings and through our videos and really.
Engages people in the history, in the constitutional questions, and then in the again, how we fit into the puzzle and what are our discussions around the Constitution, because our voice does matter.
I want to come back and talk about some of your programs in a little bit, because I think it's been really, really interesting to see the kinds of things you guys have always been doing, but especially during a pandemic. You guys have really amped up how you're engaging online.
But I first want to talk about how you fit into the story of the National Constitution Center. So first, you are like the education lead there, right? What is that job? What does it entail? Because it seems to me like you do a lot of stuff. Yeah.
It's like rule number one in education. You must like coffee. Like, that's the rule that any educator is going to have some kind of, like, educational crutch. And I mine is coffee. Diet Coke has been my new covid crutch. So some ways to get a lot of energy because you to be excited. But to be honest with you, like the content makes me super excited. It makes me nerd out and like finding the hidden stories that, like, you get to hear about this person that you never heard about before.
And and they decided to do something to make change. And sometimes they didn't actually make the change, but they fought for it. And so just to listen to these stories of people in the past and the courage that they had to fight against all the odds to know that they were never going to see change in their lifetime, but say we are creating a more perfect union. So I'm going to take my step and that's my duty to this this constitution and this society to make change, even if I won't see the outcomes of it.
So I that's what I get super excited about. It's coffee and those stories that Jasni know officially like my fancypants title, which I love, is Chief Learning Officer. And but yeah, it's it's a great title. I'm pretty sure the Reagan Institute, which is a partner of ours, their head of education, I stole it from him. It was a great title, was like, I love that. So it's always good to copy good ideas.
So what I do is I oversee all the education we do in the building online for students, for teachers and for adult learners of all ages. And really just try to make sure that what we're doing is engaging in the Constitution, teaching the history and the storytelling and making sure people feel like there's no barriers for them learning the Constitution. It's not just for the constitutional scholars, it's not just for the history nerds that this is something that affects us every day and that it's ours.
And so my job, I always think to myself is I'm a door opener. So, like, what tools can I build to make sure that everybody knows that there's a way in for them and that they're going to love it? It's really cool. It's really interesting. It's not always fun. Some of these stories are heartbreaking and they literally make you cry. But that's what we learn from, too. We learn sometimes from the biggest tragedies and some from the most heroic events.
And so looking at all the in between and sometimes the really boring, stuffy parts in between there, it's not just highs and lows. People there's a lot of in between. Yeah. And it's really interesting to so that I get to do that and I get I have an awesome team that is super excited and I work with all of our constitutional scholars who are fantastic. And we are really lucky that our scholars are constantly saying to our education team, how can I make that easier to understand?
How can I make that better for people to learn from? And that they're constant learners, too. So they are always asking to be how to be better teachers.
That's so marvelous. And I think it shows what I think is interesting is you did not initially plan for a career in history or constitutional education. Will you tell us a little bit about where you thought you were going to land and how that trajectory shifted to get you where you are now?
It's really funny. This is like a great lesson for anybody who has a degree. And they're like, oh, why did I ever waste the money and that degree? You never waste money on education. Rule number one, you will always use those skills that you have. Even if it is just a fun party trick. It is OK. It'll be a useful, useful skill. So you so yeah, I, I have an undergrad in biology with a focus on marine sciences.
So I really thought and you can totally tell from my personality that I would have been great at this job. Sarcasm insert here. I thought it would be I thought I would be either on a boat or in a lab and very quickly realized I love I love everything to do with biology. I absolutely love marine biology. And it was actually a little bit more of marine physics and marine chemistry that I loved, because I find it fascinating looking at big systems of water and land shifting and watching how these things interact.
With the environment, with the sun, like all those things, and I'm a data dork and like you can hear that in the work that I do today, that all this foundation and like analyzing and looking at numbers and data and patterns is what I took away from that undergrad degree. But so I got a degree of biology, I got a degree in marine sciences.
I wound up working in a lab and wound up being the entertainment of the remember the one day I came in and everybody's like, oh, OK, Cory, go. And I was like, wait, what do you mean go? And they're like, teach us about something. And I was like, OK. And I didn't like I realized, like, very quickly, you know, it did not fit in and not in a bad way, but it just wasn't like was very contained.
It was very quiet, it wasn't very chatty and it was fascinating, but it just wasn't right.
So I wound up announcing your for a couple of years because this is what you do and you really had a lot of great times, a lot of fun worked overseas, came back. And oddly enough, just remember, this is going to take me now. I held up the Yellow Pages, a ridiculous story. I like feathered through the Yellow Pages and put my finger on a museum in Philadelphia. And I did a cold call of the museum in Philadelphia.
And oddly enough, the guy who answered the phone on my cold call was the head of H.R. who was going on a trip to the location. I had just come from in Europe that I had lived for two years. So I told him, like, oh, you're going to love this and check out this. Like, I traveled all over Europe. So it was like I like a tour guide. And at the end of the conversation, he's like, oh, my God, why did you call?
And it was like an hour and a half in. And what I always said was, you know, I I love your museum. I love going there. And I'd really like to see what positions you have open. And he's like, well, I found one for you. He's like, it's education. He's like, man, you can talk and you can have a great conversation. And you taught me so much. And that's how I got my interview in a museum education.
And now the world was open. I was like, wow, I do love talking. I do love teaching. I do love having conversations with people and I do love learning. So a great educator is a great learner. And so that really opened the door to me. And then I dove deep into education. I got my master's in elementary ed. I worked in a Philadelphia school district part time while I was working full time at the museum.
And the at the same time, in two thousand and three, the Constitution Center opened and a few years after their opening, I was walking through the building and I had worked with somebody who had worked there before and said, look, this is an amazing place. But it it it needs human life like there's a great exhibits and there's great human stories, but there's not people teaching in place. And so that opened up the door for an interview for a program director at the Constitution Center.
I got in the door and just started looking at how kids were using the place, using the space and what did they want to learn. So it drove in deep. And 15 years later at the Constitution Center, I got a doctorate in education and creativity and innovation because we teach in so many different ways. We think teach. When you say teaching, you think schools. But there's a million ways people are learning and there's a million ways people are teaching and schools in an unbelievable, vital foundation for that.
But how do we build that and how do we learn in all places? In all spaces? So I like to think of myself as somebody who experiments with nontraditional education and dives deep into the topic and looks for ways to make the content accessible for everybody. And I get lucky enough that I get some of the best scholars at my disposal to be content. No, I don't understand that any more on that.
And it can be kind of a bossy teacher and I get to work with them and ask all those questions, but also make sure that my job is to make sure that the kids get to ask questions and that the adult learners get to ask questions and that their questions are never ones that they feel bad to ask. And they get to stop and say, OK, that's really cool. But I don't understand that word you just used, so can you help me define it?
So I spent the last fifteen years diving so deep into the Constitution and then how to teach the Constitution. So I think everybody should have a job that they're constantly learning in. And whatever the the it is, if you're learning, you're going to have fun with it. So it's a really kind of cool thing. And now if you ever go on a fishing trip with me, I'm really entertaining on a boat.
That's what you see as your retirement career.
You can go back to marine biology. It just keep everyone entertained as like the boat knowledge disseminator. I'm going to be like a boat tour guide.
Like, I'll be like, OK, as we go out to the the the fishing grounds. So we fish for tuna. Let me tell you about that wave over there.
I would book that tour in a New York minute. I think that would be the best way to go fishing in the world.
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Happy mess on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcast. This is obviously a really strange year, and because we are work with a number of different museums or have people that we know that work in museums, we've had a unique perspective to get some of those stories of how museums are handling it and what they're doing to try to cope and still provide kind of the the functionality and the learning or the the access to whatever they present for people despite not being able to open their doors.
How are you guys managing it? You have done I mean, you already had robust online learning, but it seems like everything just kind of went to 11. Will you talk about just kind of how you guys approached it when you realized you needed to shift your your gears a little bit, since you are close to the public in terms of the physical space and what you're doing right now? Because there are some amazing programs that anybody can be part of.
And thanks. I appreciate it. And so we did we we very quickly, as an organization, we started with place and then we very quickly expanded to how do we teach this nation? Because it's there's national in our title. We need to do our job right and make sure it's not just about the place. And millions of people go through our work every month, but we're never going to see them in Philadelphia. I mean, I'd love to see a mall in Philadelphia.
This is an amazing city. But is it Philadelphia?
I can say that, but we started with the interactive constitution and that was a piece that had been with the Constitution Center since before I was there. But six years ago, we really redefined it and we wanted to marry who we are as an organization. We teach about the Constitution Center, we teach about the Constitution, and when we teach about it in a way that brings all perspectives to the table. So looking at constitutional questions, not political questions.
So a constitutional question is like what may the government do? What powers are in the Constitution to allow the government to do that? So all these things that you see in your life every day typically come out as questions like, wait a minute, can they do that? That's a great constitutional question. That's an awesome one. That's usually how it comes out of my mother. Or you can do that, guys, but it's looking at the government.
Can you know, when public schools search a kid's locker, can they search your kid's backpack? Can people come into your home? And why can they come into your home if they can? What are the rules around it and what's the government and that's saying? Who can come into your home is looking at the government. So can the police come into your home? Things like that. Can they search your phone? All those questions? Can the president do that?
And executive orders. That's like the number one question of the last 15 years, looking at executive orders. Can they do that? Great question. So those are typically constitutional questions, the questions that come out of your mouth and say, like, I think we should do this or should we not do this? That's typically a policy question or a political question. So our job was to start. Let's get your foundation right. Let's get your basement solid.
We want a strong structure under every single American. So start with the Constitution. Let's bring all perspectives to the table and share what we agree upon. That's the interactive constitution and it's a great resource. It's all free. It's online, and it looks at every single section of the United States Constitution. And we get the top two scholars on that and say, OK, we're going to talk about, say, the Fourth Amendment and privacy in search and seizure topics like that.
We get the top two scholars in that area and the first thing we make them do is tell us what they agree upon, because we sometimes feel like there's a lot we don't agree upon as Americans. And that's not always true. There's a lot of common ground. So we ask them to rate a joint explainer, like a joint essay of where they agree on the Constitution. And then where they diverge is matters of debate. And so we really want people to understand that there's a lot around the law that we can coalesce around.
But then there's also areas that haven't been completely filtered through and still debate around. And that's OK. We can talk about it. So that's who we redid. It really doubled down six years ago and then we relaunched it last year. So in the last month, we are the third most visited website for a museum in the United States because of that interactive constitution, because people hear things in the news and they go, wait a minute, how does that work?
Whose job is that? Can they do that? When they look at the interactive constitution and it's the gateway, you know, it's the gateway into the Constitution. It helps give them a foundation. And then that's where I come in and lure them into more. You love this so much now. Don't you want to join a class on it? So all these programs are were online a few years ago. So like our classes that we teach every single week with students in middle school, in high school and student.
Lifelong learners of all ages, we started a few years ago, so lucky us, we were exploring ways to connect classrooms with each others. So it was it's called the Scholar Exchange Program or the exchange program. And what we wanted to do is we wanted to give kids practice talking to each other about difficult constitutional questions, because if we worry that, ah, adults can't do it, we need to start making sure that our kids can do it.
And so we started three years ago connecting classes to classes, exchange, exchange of ideas, exchange of constitution, exchange of dialogue. And that's the best we can do as an organization. Teach the Constitution, look at the constitutional questions, and then give place and space for discussion and dialogue. That's civil. That when covid hit, we had been experimenting with bringing scholars into classrooms and we literally turned a switch. We said, why are we doing this just for classrooms?
Let's open this up and make it public and let's put it online. And then we also follow really quickly with our Town Hall series, which is an adult program where we have multiple scholars talking about the issues and adults asking questions. And it's been really fascinating to see the thousands and thousands of students join us. And what I love about it is talk about open doors with kids from all over the country talking to each other. So I have fifth graders in Idaho talking to fifth graders in Florida, kids logging in because there are homeschooled kid with a private school student with a public school student, parochial schools, they're all in it together.
We have younger kids and older kids in there. And it's fantastic to really make sure that we're helping kids of all ages and students of all ages talk to each other about the Constitution, get their constitution straight, and that opens up even more questions and giving them chances to ask those questions, because sometimes you you want to ask that question, but you don't have the right person to ask. So we're going to supply you with the best scholars and make it really engaging along the way.
And they give you chances to talk to each other about it. So all are free. And it really takes that core of Constitution conversations and just opens it broadly across the country.
Yeah, and I feel compelled to point out for our listeners that when those sessions are happening, you are there like taking questions, passing those out and asking them directly to so they're getting real time answers from like levels of like deep knowledge that most people would never have access to.
And I'm always amazed at how you juggle it. But because it's a lot going on, it's like people talking and you're kind of directing the discussion, but you're also monitoring the chat and taking in the questions. So it's quite a thing to see happen. There you go. It's clearly working. I really did. When you first told me, like, oh, no, anybody from anywhere can be accessing this session and and asking questions. I was like, that is amazing.
This brings me to my next question, which is that you have mentioned that this is the learning that you offer is for all ages and how you definitely try to get kids involved in learning early on, but that you also have adult programs.
How do you juggle kind of trying to figure out the best ways to make that information accessible, digestible, easy to understand for all ages because some of your sessions are basically all ages.
Yeah, and that's been fascinating to watch how this covid and just online education is blowing up typical structures that have been put into place to segment people by age. And if you think about it like I always think about it, sorry, this is like my nerdy education side coming out, but like schools are set up to be OK. You're in this age bracket, you're in this grade and you go through life that way and then you go into the real world.
And I don't work with anybody my age like nobody's my exact age. Like, that's the only time you ever get that kind of, like, segmentation. So this is changing things. So we do we do hope so. One of the things we did was we said, OK, we're going to designate certain times during the week for certain not age levels, but content levels. So we say it's a middle school program, you know, Mondays and Wednesdays at 12:00 Eastern Time.
But I want to really, like, reiterate that it's it's a it's an entry level time. So we do get a lot of middle schoolers, but we also get adults. We get high schoolers because that's the level they feel they want to be exposed to at that time. And that's great. So knowing in your head, like kind of like what level middle school is, you say, OK, that one's for me at the Mondays and Wednesdays at two o'clock is.
Or in time, that's the high school level, high school college level, and again, the younger kids that are really advanced are jumping in on that one. And the adults that are like, I need to freshen up. But I know a little bit about this. They're jumping in on that, too. So the majority of students are that age bracket, but it's really open. So we've been thinking as an educational institution, how do we change that terminology?
So it isn't a barrier. I'm not a middle school kid. So this I feel embarrassed to go to a middle school level. I find the adults, especially the active older adults, the seniors, they don't care. They're like, I'll go to the third grade, one day care. But like, you know, if you're 17, that might not make you feel good. So I want everybody to feel good. It's OK. It's like, OK, let's do college level one college level, do like entry level, advanced level.
That's kind of the way we talk about it, what we have seen on the Friday session. So Friday at 1:00 and they should never let me name anything just on a side. Funny. No, because I just call it the all in session and they're like, Oh, thanks, I appreciate it. But it literally was like that was what I was thinking. OK, it's Friday at one o'clock. Have at it. I don't care. Whoever wants to come can come.
Let's see what we're doing. That's been fascinating because we are getting all ages. So we've seen second grade group of brownies at the same time that I had an eighty two year old advanced judge and they're all in the same half an hour conversations. These are quick, these are fun. We try to do lots of visuals to support younger learners and support the language because sometimes the language can be a barrier. So how can I as an educator use imagery and infographics so it you hear a new word, but now it's clicking because you just understand what it is through the infographics.
So all those tools of good teaching are applied. Like what I usually say is like, am I using universal design for learning? How can I best accommodate all learners of all ages and all levels in one session and really think like Little House on the Prairie? OK, I've got now all the tech tools, but I have all these different ages ago and I have found that because the students, especially my younger students, they don't care.
They'll ask anything they want. It helps everybody. So I love the two ends of the spectrum. So my third graders and my nine year old are identical actually, because they just don't care and they'll ask anything they want. They may be different, but the fact that they are like they're they're so secure in who they are, they will ask, like, you just use the word. I don't know. Can you try again? That was the statement one of my third graders.
And I was like, OK, I love you.
Like, I wish everyone felt that free because so many of us would never admit, like, I don't actually know what she just said, but that's the way you're going to learn the best.
And because she asked that there was a whole group of people that now learned because she was able to ask that Cecilia, she was awesome. And she was like, bam, I'm going to ask this question. I love it so much.
You have talked a little bit about the interactive constitution that you have, but I would love for you to talk a little bit more about it, because it really is an astonishing piece of, I want to say technology. But it's not even that because it's technology, but it's also scholarship. And it's, you know, interactive cannot be overstated on this. Like, you literally can click through the Constitution and get, you know, little pop ups that will be explainers.
And it's visual at the same time that it's a lot of text. And you mentioned that you guys kind of just redid it. So if you would talk through kind of what guides really how you present, like having those two scholars write their thing to make sure it is easy to navigate as well as easy to get additional information on something. It's such an amazing piece of work for what is a living document. So it's kind of a weird sort of it's almost like language immersion.
You're in the Constitution when you're using it, which I love. So, yeah, well, you talk about kind of how that all became the marvel that it is. Yeah.
And in a million iterations. So what I think working with great partners. So we work with American Constitutional Society and the Federalist Society. So they're really kind of ideologically very different. And so we worked with them and said, give us your best. So what I learned very quickly on this project when we first started it was that scholars are like doctors. They're very uniquely focused in one area. So like you don't go ask the podiatrist how to fix your heart valves, like you go to the right doctor.
That's how it is for the scholars to you know, we have scholars that we work with that are generalists, but they also have an area of specialty. So to get that, to get the two. Top organization saying, here's our best scholar on this, gives you this level of credibility that you're able to bring the best to the table. It was so many lessons learned along the way and like, how do we keep it short enough but still give enough of the content that you feel sound on it.
So having that joint explainer was huge because that's how most people start. And also how do we make sure we're not walking away from the Constitution's actual text, but bringing them closer like these were all the goals that we are trying to parse out and figure out as we went through and then asking these great, amazing scholars, OK, we need this to be like for students as well. Can you write this at a high school reading level and then them coming back and saying absolutely.
And then reading the first essays and saying, oh my God, I don't think they've ever met a high school kid.
You're like, oh, no, I love that you thought they know these words. So like going back and forth, but then understanding that at some point this is their names are signed on to this. So they have to give you a high enough level but still make it accessible. What a balance. And that's why we think it's so successful, because we balance that top scholars working with great partners, the right people, and then balancing that kind of in between between great scholarly work but accessible material and then laying it out in a way that is so user friendly that you can jump into one section and then go down a rabbit hole and keep going and that one area and then see what the point and counterpoint are on these discussions.
What I also love about the next version that we did about a year ago is we started layering in all these other tools that help you again, help you understand the words, help you understand the Constitution, and also help you understand that it's relevant, that it's not just a document written two hundred and so many years ago that it is happening this day, this year, last week. And so that's what the explainers are great about, too. It doesn't just leave you in seventeen, eighty seven.
It says they were talking about 1787. Guess what, we still haven't figured it out yet.
Here's the key and that kind of makes you feel OK. You're like, OK, good, we're still working on it. So we layered the videos, the town halls, the podcast, the lesson plans and all the classes on top of it.
So I kind of think and this is where I'll go to my schrecker reference, it's kind of like an onion that we keep growing. So Ogre's and the Constitution are kind of like onions. They have many layers.
But this is why I work with kids. I love it, though.
I mean, that's a perfect way to think about it. Do you ever think about how you're going to die? I think I'm going to choke to death specifically on a cool ranch, Doritos.
I'm definitely slipping in the shower, I'm for sure. Going to die taking a selfie anyway. Hey, I'm Gabby. I'm Taylor. I'm Neka.
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We're just three fun and flirty gals talking about all the fun and flirty ways that people expire, like how three people died because of a poodle and how you shouldn't trust your ex-boyfriend to help you get rid of a body.
We'll also find out about all of Nico's boyfriends. That is untrue. And we will find out that Taylor is a horse girl and Gabby is the best one.
OK, Gabby, basically this podcast is kind of like Sex in the City.
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Hey everyone, it's Michelle Williams and I'm so excited to launch my brand new podcast with you.
Checking in with Michelle Williams were my guests and I get real as we share the ups and downs of our mental health journeys.
And I'd love for you to join me right now. I'm still on my journey, but I got to share some real issues because guess what?
As I was sharing my favorite food is I was sharing my favorite clothes and designers.
I was struggling. We can laugh and learn. And most of all, I really hope to inspire you to go on this journey with me to better mental health.
This is going to be your church, your turn up and everything in between. So join me on my brand new podcast, checking in with Michelle Williams. It's a safe space for every kind of person.
Listen to checking in with Michelle Williams on December 22nd on the black effect on the radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast.
What has been the most surprising aspect of this work for you? Like, I'm sure there's been something where you're like, I did not ever see this coming.
I look every day like I think I'm trying to think so historically, the most surprising aspect when it's almost like when I first started and now because I feel like I'm constantly new and constantly learning. So when I first started, I think the most surprising aspect that I had was the difference between when people first come to us and when people leave us. And it's still today the truth. People walk in with this. They're kind of like, oh, it's an old stuffy document like all these things.
And they've got this concept that the Constitution is like, I should know it like this, almost like a guilt associated with it, like I should know it. But it's also like boring.
And then within minutes, I know that. Oh, my God, that's fascinating. Tell me more. And so when they leave us, they're like hooked. And so they're like absolutely like, oh, I love this. And they're now like they're like they drank the Kool-Aid. They're in the band. And you're like. So that was the first kind of like moment of working in the museum that I saw that. And it was like, tell you a real quick, funny story.
We were at an activity table in the middle of the lobby. It's like my first few months there. And we're we're doing something with a group of kids and it's families and everything is it's like a weekend. And this kid turns around and he's probably like nine years old. And he looks at his looks at us and he's like all the staff and he looks at his mom and goes, and you said this would be boring. And he's like, annoyed at his mother.
And she looks at the staff. He goes, no, we didn't know what it was like.
We'd like throw the shame nine year old like, I love it. So we left and we're like, it's OK. And like but that's what we always want to tell people, like, come in, you're going to love it here. You're like you're going to have so much fun. And then the people who already love it feel like they found the body like they found like their home. We have a t shirt for our teachers that we're producing right now and it says the constitution cum nerd out with us because like we own that, we love it and we should all be constitutional nerds like that is not a negative that we it is our document.
It is our power as we the people. And let's come nerd out together. And then the back says we the people it know is kind of cool.
Thing is, again, just going back to the fact that, you know, we always make we always think about what are we handed, what are we doing and how do we make it more engaging, more fun. And so Kovik was kind of like, OK, we got lemons, we're making limoncello, we're making lemonade, we're making everything with these lemons. And my favorite part of this is learning how learners of all ages can come together, talk about a constitutional topic and learn from each other so that 80 year olds are learning from third graders and third graders are learning from eight year olds.
And it's not just about our scholars and our educators and our museum, but that we can create place across the country for people to come together and break down educational barriers and knowledge barriers and feel a community. And again, like it's your constitution, you found your home. You're here now. And now we have this now different community in place, in space and in time. That's really, really cool and exciting.
It's so unique, I imagine, that this being an election year with a lot of debate going on, on every street, corner, dinner table, et cetera, that you guys have been really, really slammed. What has that been like for you? Like just to manage probably all the queries about constitutionality of various different things?
It's awesome. So we have a running joke that the Constitution hasn't been this talked about since. Eighty seven. So thank you. Good. No, thank you. Everything that's going on. So because now people love it and this is, this is their hook. This is their end and now they're with us. It's been great. The hardest part for us is to make sure that we give people time to understand all perspectives and all sides on the Constitution, and then we stay in the constitutional questions.
So sometimes people come to us with a political question or very one sided, and we want them to come in and we want to lay out the Constitution for them and give them all the perspectives so then they can go from there and say, OK, not I get it. I see all different parts. We're not asking people to change their minds. We're just asking people to hear the Constitution and hear the other perspectives that they may have not heard before, or they might just want to understand where is the other side coming from.
So our job is to really make sure that we're getting. Driving ability to have civil dialogues, and we don't think that will be unemotional. I am the most emotional person probably everybody will meet. It's mostly associated with super excitement, but it's still an emotion. And I want people to be jazzed about it. I want people to be excited, but we also want people to listen. And that's a really hard skill, especially when your emotion is really high.
So when we talk about the Constitution, we look at it. I always say we look at it at the table. We put the constitution on the table in the center of all of us, and we talk about the Constitution. And that removes a little bit of the personal and pulls us back a minute so we can talk about it together and brings us together as a community. And then from there, we can decide what how do I want to see and understand and where do I sit with these constitutional debates?
And that's on you and that's your choice. And that's great. Have your perspective. But let's all come together at first together looking at the Constitution as kind of the tool that unifies and connects us and we need those connecting points. So that's been the I think the struggle at times is people feel like they've lost connecting points with each other. But we really want to say the Constitution is that connecting point. And it it may not be perfect. And we've we've had to change it over time, but it's still something that we can rally upon and say we have power to change and how do we find our power and how do we find our power to protect as well?
Oh, I love it. OK, for my last question, I've said I love it like thirty two times in this interview. But for my last question, I would love to hear from you. Like what the one thing is that you wish everybody knew or understood about the Constitution that maybe isn't always top of mind or something that they come to the table with.
It's hard to pick. You can you can give multiple answers. There's no problem there.
So let me think for a hot second. So there's so much to teach about the Constitution. There's so many things to understand about it. And we talk so much about the document. So we we love to talk about the Constitution, the history and the modern questions, like all those pieces of our what we want to talk about and value, I would like people to walk away knowing and understanding four branches of government. So if we think about the Constitution, most times when you think about government, you think three branches of government.
There's always those tests that come out every year about, we don't know, each branch of government. It's not about memorizing things. It's about understanding the the goals and the responsibilities of each branch. So when I say four, it also talks about you. So we want to talk to people about Article one, and that's Congress. What's Congress? Why was it put together? How is it worked over time? And what's its job responsibility? And then article to the presidency and the executive branch.
Same deal, Article three, the courts, same deal. We have to understand what their jobs are, how and why they were set up the way they were, and then how they have to work together or work in opposition. And that's OK if they work in opposition. At times the system was set up to be that way. But what we forget sometimes is we forget to talk about the fourth branch and that's we the people. We have a responsibility to ensure that this constitution works, that it is not just a written document, but that it is a document that has value in action as well.
So it's our job to say, hey, Congress, we need you to do this. We need you to not do this. We need to do this better presidency, same deal, courts, same deal. There's that we the people aspect of popular sovereignty that we sometimes forget to teach. So that gives us all persons in America agency and responsibility. So we always talk about what is the job, what are the what is the task given in the Constitution to that part of the government.
But what's the duty like? What is the duty of that? And so what is our duty as citizens? And it's not just about saying what's wrong, but it's also supporting and saying what's working. And so that's two really sides of the coin. And we can't think of things in just everything is being wrong or great. We have to really look at the whole spectrum of these pieces. And we have a tendency in American history to either make people heroes or make people villains.
And the reality of it is there's a lot of in between and we need to look at all of that. So people think about the popular sovereignty aspect, think about we, the people, and let's live in the gray, because most of our life is gray and we need to really parse out those visas as well.
Oh, beautifully put curry. Where is the best place for people to go to find the National Constitution Center online and once this pandemic is over in person and get their their mitts on. That beautiful interactive constitution, so best place to go is Constitution Center dog, you can also Google interactive constitution and find the National Constitution Center. It pops up really quickly, which is great. But go to Constitution Center dot org. If you're ever in Philadelphia, please visit us on Independence Mall.
We are on the most historic square mile in America. So, hey, you heard that Boston. You heard that Colonial Williamsburg, Philly, when we were in person. I like it. Like we win. We own it. So many great things about Philadelphia, but that Sterk Mile and we're on it. So Constitution Center dog. And remember, ninety nine point nine percent of what we do at the center is free. So we work really hard to ensure that our materials have no barriers and that sometimes paid walls are huge barriers for people.
So it's free. Join it, share it. Follow us on Twitter, follow us on Facebook. We'd love to see you guys there. And if you need anything, education at Constitution Center, dog educators are here to help and institutions and our educators love their jobs. So whatever you need, let us know.
So, yes, you too can be talking to both second graders and 90 year olds at the same time about the Constitution. Curry, I cannot thank you enough. This has been such a delightful way to spend this hour.
Thank you so much. It's great to be here and thank you so much, because your class and so just the listeners know that you did a class with us and it was on the executive branch, the presidency and the White House. And it's absolutely one of my favorite classes because I love the idea of talking about the Constitution, talking about our history in America and talking about police because police matters. And it's how we rally around our identity of who we are.
So thank you so much for adding so much depth of knowledge to that class. And I know our president, Jeff Rosen, his comment was that was amazing. Going to hear more. So thank you so much.
I'm so glad it was my absolute pleasure and delight. And you made it super easy. I was very worried because I never think of myself as an expert on really anything historical. I'm very enthusiastic, but I don't always retain things. So you made it super easy and fun and like an absolute delight for me. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you. I have a great one. This was so much fun. Yay for me as well.
I am absolutely not exaggerating when I say that every time I have an interaction with Cary, it legitimately makes me want to study the Constitution. She makes the fact that it's a living document so apparent that you just want to go engage with it. So my deepest thanks to her for coming on this show. I hope everyone else that listens feels the same way. Once again, if you want to check out the work that Cary and the National Constitution Center do, including that interactive constitution that they talked about, visit Constitution Center dot org, the Yalcin have a little listener mail.
I do. I do. This is from our listener, Laura, who writes, Dear Holly and Tracy, I've been listening to you for about three years, but I am a podcast nerd and I must start a new podcast from the first episode and then binge as much as I can. I am now officially caught up. I listen in the car at work while cooking, etc. So sometimes 10 hours a day of listening, that's a lot. There have been many times when I have wanted to write to say well done or asked for clarification.
But then remember that I was so far behind that you might have thought me crazy for asking questions that were from Podcast's years ago. Now that I'm caught up, I feel I can finally write you to say thank you. As an aside, I appreciate that I would never think anyone was crazy for asking about old episodes, but it gets harder and harder the farther back you go for Tracey and I to recall things. Yeah, and if they're from other hosts, I'm like, I have no idea.
My daughter has recently graduated with honors from a local university with a history major and it has been so nice to be able to have things to discuss with her. I did not grow up making history, but find that now that I am older, I can't get enough of it. You have definitely been part of that journey. I think my favorite part of the podcasts are when you genuinely laugh at yourselves or at circumstances. When I first started listening, I would hear your voices announcing trips or other events.
But you weren't the voice yet of the podcast. So it was a delight for me to finally catch up and put your personalities with the voices. When I heard that you got hate mail, I just about cried for you. You two are delightful and make me smile on the daily. And Holly, when you mentioned Coach McGirk a few episodes ago, I nearly wanted to jump through the speaker and give you a high five. But, you know, covid, not many of my friends understand my obsession with that show.
I feel like we are kindred spirits about many things. As a Canadian, I especially love when you do some of our history and history from other parts of the world. The episodes that have highlighted marginalized people have opened my eyes even more than they were before, and I look forward to learning more. Knowledge is power, and it is through said knowledge that change can come any way in this strange time. I'm glad to hear you are both staying well.
It's almost comforting to know that the whole world is going through the same thing at the same time. Thank you both for all you do. I have no idea what I'm going to do now that I don't have multiple episodes to listen to every day. Laura, this is such a lovely note. One, of course, anytime somebody is going to shadow Coach McGurk, I want to read that letter for those of you to know.
That is from an older Loren Bouchard series long before Bob's Burgers called Home Movies, which is one of the most charming things ever put on a television screen.
In my opinion, you're so incredibly sweet. And I really loved hearing all of this. And I'm so excited that you're your daughter. Studies history. I will be curious.
Keep us updated on what she does with that. If she ends up working in an industry field, because I always love to hear those. It seemed like a good match for this episode where I talked to someone that works with history every day, although did not think that that was going to be their life's path initially. So if he would like to write to us and share the ways you connect to history or anything else, you can do that at History podcast, at Iroha Radio Dotcom, you can also find us on social media as missed in history.
You can also subscribe to this podcast that's easy as pie. You can do it on the I Heart radio app at Apple podcast or wherever it is you listen. Stuff you missed in history class is the production of I Heart Radio for more podcasts from My Heart radio visit by her radio app Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows. You already know that the challenge is the most heart pounding competition show on television. But do you ever wonder how challenge competitors are selected to have to make a deal with the devil or which challenges were too dangerous for TV?
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