When a genealogist in Tennessee recently asked for suggestions for her society about ideas for holding a family history fair with rotating classes, I was reminded of a Knowledge Café I participated in at a Conference Board of Canada conference in Toronto a few years ago.
A Knowledge Café is a great way for a genealogy society to encourage its experts, who may be reluctant to make a formal presentation, to share their knowledge in an informal setting. It is also a good way for members to network with each other.
Here is how a Knowledge Café can work for a genealogy society.
- Set up tables around the room with an expert at each one.
- Assign a number to each table.
- When members arrive, give them a list of the tables and the topics to be presented.
- At the start of the meeting, ring a bell or blow a whistle to signal it is time for the members to choose a table to visit.
- The experts make a five to 10-minute presentation, followed by Q&As. The experts can remain seated or stand.
- Handouts can be distributed at each table.
- Every 15 or 20 minutes, ring a bell or blow a whistle to signal it is time for members to move to another table.
At the Knowledge Café I attended, we did not have time to visit all the tables. The challenge — and fun — was choosing which of the many excellent presentations to attend.
What else could we do at a Knowledge Cafe? Has your society done something similar?