Alcatraz Weekly

January 15, 2014

Weekly Discussion Topics

Texas A&M research team using radar to recreate underground tunnels at Alcatraz:

Steve Johnson is setting up a tour to Angel Island on either Tuesday Feb 18th. or Tues. Feb. 25th. Matt, Benny, Carla, Wendy, Lori, are interested. Nancy is also interested but can’t make those dates. If anyone else, including volunteers, are interested, please contact Lori. She will coordinate with Steve.

Kate Clevenger forwarded an NPR article about prisoners growing their own food:

Reminder that the Bio-Blitz is 3/28 and 29. All hands on deck to help out throughout the park. Staff participating include Nancy and Wendy. Others may be needed as well but there is little information about when and where people are needed.

Overnight program. There is currently discussion about how to proceed with the overnight program. Should it shrink, expand, include more scholarship opportunities? Along with other SPUG events, scheduling is on hold until construction schedules are known. Staff expressed a strong desire to see the continuation of the overnight program. The in-depth experience for participants is unmatched. Staff do not feel burnt out by the 2 overnights a month program. Rather, staff feel more burnt out be frequent and sometimes extensive large events that require them to be up and awake all night long. They also questioned the nexus of many large events. The overnight program has a clear nexus that leaves a lasting impression among all involved. Other events such as birthday parties, dinner events, private events, often lack a nexus and are more about the event than they are about Alcatraz. Next steps is for Marcus to see where the discussion is currently with SPUG, Outreach, and Interp.

Nancy, suspense letter,

Eastern State Penn visit. I had a chance to visit this famous penitentiary last week and got an amazing tour. There were a few interesting items that I wanted to share with you.

- They do a lot of long –term art projects in some of the cells. It’s not a venue we have used much on the island but the pieces were moving and interesting.


Also, they now include information on present day prison issues in every tour on the final stop. It’s an interesting approach to bring the past to the present and make it relevant.

- MLK Day – Actors and interpreters ready MLK’s letter from the Birmingham Jail.

My Management Training. As you know I am participating in a series of week long training sessions. I have not yet had a chance to share much of what I have been learning but wanted to give you an overview.

Week one: The first week we assessed personal working styles (Meijers Briggs). We looked at tools to discover what really motivates individuals. We discussed how we respond to adversity (how much do we let work affect our personal life, how fast we recover from set backs, how much do we hold on to the past). Work life balance isn't about juggling your workload but it’s about how much work affects our personal life. Can we let go of work when we go home or do we bring it home?

We got into how to establish teams, setting expectations, and norms. We started group projects and mine is on setting NPS policy on Feral and Domestic Cats.

Week two: Continued to look inward and also began to look at our emotional intelligence: Self awareness, self regulation, motivation, empathy, social skills. Aware of our own emotions and reactions, how we affect we have on others, can we understand where the other person is coming from. We are emotional beings so discussion focused on our interpretation of situations, the assumptions we make, body language, and how that affects the outcome of dialogue. For myself, I need to work on emotional expression, assertiveness, and independence. Also had a session on conflict - how we respond to conflict (are we naturally competitive, collaborators, compromisers, or avoiders). Also how we contribute to conflict. Had a challenging session on Diversity what is it, what are the benefits of a diverse workforce. It goes far deeper than skin color. What are the challenges to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce. We had a heart felt session on stereotypes exploring how society keeps stereotypes going in film and songs. Subtle ways we continue those hostile workplace with use of stereotypes types.

Week Three: Focus is external. Partnerships. On March 6 we will be on Alcatraz.

Week Four: Legislative. In DC

Accessibility: Reminder to use people centered language when talking about visitors with disabilities. For example, say that “a visitor who is using a wheelchair is coming” rather than “a wheelchair is coming”.

PC Radios. Matt is to look into ways to reduce noise and chatter on the PC radios.

Reminder that on 1 Feb, the Agave Trail closes. If you have not been on it lately, make sure you get out there before it closes.

Special Kudos

Kudos to Ranger John for stepping in and acting as the site supervisor during the 4 weeks that I was out of the office.

Visitor Comments

12/17 “We missed the boat back to pier 33 and might missed our flight out of San Francisco. We forgot the name of the employee in Alcatraz. He ensured that a taxi is waiting for us at pier 33 to take us back to our hotel - where we catch our airport shuttle to the airport. Thank you.

1/3 “We did the guided tour with ranger Wendy on the inmates work detail and found her knowledgeable, happy person, which our young boys 6 and 7 enjoyed too.”

1/6 “The gentleman at the Industrial plant was a wonderful help. I don't know his name but he was a volunteer that used to work for IBM. He was very friendly and informative. He was a joy to speak to. He went out of his way to make sure we had a wonderful experience. The folks handing out the audio devices were very friendly as well. This was an amazing experience.”

Health and Safety

Visitor confrontations: Occasionally we are in a position trying to enforce park rules to visitors. There have been instances where we get push back or even face belligerent visitors. While we may all wish at times that we could enforce rules and regulations, our job as interpreters is more about reminding visitors about rules and regulations. To avoid issues, keep it light and non-confrontational. De escalate any situation immediately and call LE ASAP if you get push back. Personal safety and that of other visitors comes first.

Upcoming Leave (Annual, Sick, Off-Site Training)

16 Feb – 1 March Furlough Nancy

2-7 March Marcus Training (San Francisco)

11-17 May Marcus Training Travel (Wash. DC)

Calendar of Events

1/14/-18. Interpretive Training: Terry Kreidler.

1/18/14 Academic Internship Orientation

2/15/14 Chinese NY Parade.

2/2014 Health and Safety Week.

2/28/14 Steve Johnson’s Civil War Group: 10-2pm. Group 1
50 students & chaperones on 10 am ferry to Alcatraz
Met by volunteers Steve J. and Paul for orientation and introduction Group split in half: one group does architecture and cannon drill (45 min), the other group does soldier uniform and duties, weapons (musket and bayonet), walk through the Civil War tunnel (45 min). Then the groups switch. 90 minutes total
Group boards 11:30 boat back to Pier 33.

3/1/14 Steve Johnson’s Civil War Group: 10-2pm. Group2
50 students & chaperones on 12 pm ferry to Alcatraz
Met by volunteers Steve J. and Paul for orientation and introduction
Group split in half: one group does architecture and cannon drill (45 min), the other group does soldier uniform and duties, weapons (musket and bayonet), walk through the Civil War tunnel (45 min). Then the groups switch. 90 minutes total
Group returns to dock for Q & A, and to fill out survey questions
Group boards 2:00 boat back to Pier 33.

3/1 and 3/2/14: Junior Ranger Days (Ranger Kelly)

3/22/14 Living History Day

3/28-29/14 Bio-Blitz. All hands on deck to help out throughout the park.

4/8-10 Meeting: A Visitor Use Management and Monitoring program for MUWO and Alcatraz. Marcus

5/17-18/14 Storytelling workshop:

9/27/14 Living History Day

9/27/14 Ai Wei Wei Opening

11/8 and 9 Junior Ranger Day

Exhibit Calendar

Band Room:

8/28/13 - 2/28/13 Flower Painting Display

2/14 – 8/14/13: San Quentin Prison Arts Project

10/14 – 4/15 Proposed Ai Wei Wei Exhibit. Various locations around the island.

5/15 – 9/15 Tentative: Community Works West

10/15 – 5/16 Art Explorers, Inc. Alcatraz Inmates paintings by Charles Unser.

New Industries:

3/21 - 3/20/14 Anniversary of Prison Closing Exhibit

7/15 – 12/15 Prisoners of Age* by Ron Levine

Bldg 64 Casemates:

4/28 - ? Native Nationalism and Red Power: Historicizing the 1969 Alcatraz Occupation venue: Building 64/Theater/China Alley AZ lead: Teresa

Other Proposed Exhibits

9/14 – 4/15 Ai Wei Wei Exhibit. Various locations around the island including Industries, Hospital, A-Block.

Fall 2015 Proposed: We Players "Hamlet".


Closures (Updated 8/28/13): Off limits areas include: Cell House Roof, Citadel, QM Lower Level, Bldg 64. Upper floors, area past cable by power house.

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