At the Museum, Gallery Educators engage visitors through tours, drop-in interactions, school programs, and more – they are an integral part of the visitor experience! Our Education Coordinator, Leslie Garcia, recently sat down with one of our Gallery Educators, Toni Tepetla, to talk about their experience working at the Museum, their favorite exhibit, tour to lead, and more.

Hi, Toni! Please tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Pialli! (Hello!)  My name is Toni Tepetla, and my pronouns are they/them/theirs. I am Tlaxcaltec from the community of Xicohtzinco in Tlaxcala, Mexico. I have been a Gallery Educator at the Museum for almost a year! I have a passion for working with young people and hope to someday continue working with youth through cultural education.

What is the best part about being a Gallery Educator at the Museum of Man?

One of the best things about working here is the interactions I get to have with guests. I love being able to have deep conversations about culture and identity with them, or just sharing some laughs!

Which tour is your favorite to lead?

My favorite tour to lead is our Race: Are We So Different? exhibit tour, especially for high school students. I love being able to connect with students and give them the space to explore the concept of race.

When leading tours of Race: Are We So Different?, what is the biggest takeaway you want students to have?

I want students to leave with an understanding that people are a lot more complex than we think. Everyone has a story. If we look beyond our differences, have these important conversations, listen, and talk to others, we are one step closer to making our world a better place.

Which gallery is your favorite?

My favorite exhibit is our newly-refreshed Kumeyaay: Native Californians/Iipai-Tipai gallery. San Diego is situated in the ancestral homelands of the Kumeyaay Peoples. Since the Museum is on their homeland, it is important that we recognize that we are guests here and that we must hold a space for the Kumeyaay Nation to allow their narratives and perspectives to be heard. The Museum has been working in collaboration with Indigenous communities to put Indigenous voices and decision-making at the forefront.

Thank you, Toni!

Tlazokamati Miac! (Thank you very much!)

Learn more about our educational programs here.

Photo by Leslie Garcia