BMI educator Jesse Lentz has always loved machines, museums, art, and teaching. Working at the BMI provides the perfect outlet for all of her passions and skills.
Jesse’s treasure trove of knowledge about various industries and machines informs her tours, where she imparts “silly bits of information” that educate and entertain adults and children alike. Jesse appreciates the challenge of engaging adult visitors who are usually quieter than children and sometimes need a bit more encouragement tapping into the wonder of the museum experience.
During COVID, when the museum was closed, Jesse was inspired to create new programming to entice people, particularly adults, to come back when the museum reopened. She developed a series of hands-on sewing and printing workshops to teach participants historic skills and connect them to the rich history of Maryland’s printing and garment industries.
According to Jesse, there is no need to have a particular skill set in order to participate in her workshops. She enjoys reminding people that “art is a safe place to fail.” Experimentation is encouraged; The programs are more about the process than the end product.
During her first sewing workshop, several participants arrived with sewing tools that had been handed down to them by their grandmothers. They didn’t know how to use them, but by the end of their time with Jesse, not only had they learned valuable new skills, but they also found new appreciation for the role of sewing in their family history. This was one of Jesse’s favorite moments.
Jesse looks forward to connecting future visitors to the history that is on display at the BMI. “The BMI is full of so many fascinating artifacts and stories that are not just about the past, but also have relevance to people’s lives today.”