April 11, 2016

Joshua Poindexter and Amanda Fortner

Joshua Poindexter and Amanda Fortner

Amanda Fortner: You’re a fan favorite at Amazement Square. You know that we have kids who come in all the time, “Is Mr. Josh working today?” and when I tell them no they get a little sad and say “Well we can come back tomorrow when he’s back.”

What is it that you think you do that make the kids gravitate towards you?

Joshua Poindexter: I almost consider myself a bit of the dad of the museum. I’m just right there, there to listen to them.

AF: And play.

JP: They jump right in.

AF: Giving piggyback rides on the mat downstairs, tumbling with the kids, which is not something I can do anymore.

JP: I get to engage them; they give me the workout. I have no need for a gym membership, right?

AF: This is very true. Do you have any specific family that has made a lasting impression on you in any way?

JP: There is one family; there are three girls that I have grown up with museum wise. I think they started coming my first year working. Now they’re still there and I’ve seen them grow and get tall and they’re still wanting to engage with Mr. Josh.

AF: They do, they love Mr. Josh.

JP: I still run on the mats with them, I still tumble through, but now they’re actually taking the time at certain exhibits to actually learn. It’s a whole other level that I can engage with them inside.

AF: The best memory I had is I was still working the front desk and Betty Wood and her grandson Charlie.

JP: Yes!

AF: Yes. He turned five and was so upset that that meant that he could no longer go in the barn because the barn has the sign on it that says “Guests Four and Under.”

JP: (whispered) Yea.

AF: And we’re pretty lenient on it as long as there are no really small kids and you’re not trying to break it, you know, we’ll let you go in there with supervision.

And he came in and as soon as he came in the door he was like “Miss Amanda, I have a problem.”

And I was like “Oh Charlie, what’s wrong, you just got here?”

And he was like “I turned five the other day, and just because I’m five does not mean that I do not like the barn. I would like to still be able to be milk the cow and pet that goat.”

He just went on and on. And I said “Charlie you’re more than welcome to still go in the barn.”

And he just looked at Betty and he was like, “She said yes!”

And she was like, “He prepared the entire car ride down here on how to convince you to let him still go in the barn.” And I was like “That is the cutest thing in the world!”

JP: The kids are the reason I continue to work there because I feel like I hear so much about parents looking to find areas and people that they can trust to be around their kids. And so, Square is really one spot where not only can I engage the kids but I can really make that impact on them that they continue to come back and know that there is someone out there that they can actually trust and have fun with at the same time.

Length: 2:37. Read transcript (PDF)

National Medal for Museum and Library Service