We all know the thrill of being involved in a worthwhile project. Even better if it’s groundbreaking. Better still if you’ve got a foot in the door from the beginning. 

I’m talking about my role with Time Traveler Tours and the part I’ve played in the development of our coming Story Tour to Florence: 


It’s now on its way to the app stores (!) and Sarah is on her way to a much-needed vacation. So we thought it a fine time to share the serendipity that brought me to the team, first as Museum Liaison and now Community Manager.

It began with a chance meeting between two strangers on a train... 

One of them was Sarah Towle, Founder of Time Traveler Tours & Tales (TTT&T); the other was Rachel Dewan, an archaeologist at Saving Antiquities for Everyone (SAFE), an advocacy group I've been writing and editing for as a volunteer these past several years. The train was bound for Athens and the two strangers just happened to step into the same car. They just happened to sit on the same bench. They just happened to strike up the conversation that would change my life. Both being passionate about culture and committed to turning history on, they totally clicked. Rachel took Sarah’s card and passed it to me. I immediately reached out. 

You see, my passion is museums. It always has been. But in order to pay the bills in such a flooded industry, I’ve been working as well in eLearning using new technologies. I knew I could bring all my skills to use at Time Traveler Tours. Lucky for me, Sarah agreed. And now the favorite of my three jobs is working as her right hand, though she is in London and I’m in LA; though we’ve never actually met except via Skype!

 (Image: Claire Murray for tattie+toppin)

 (Image: Claire Murray for tattie+toppin)

My role with TTT is ever-evolving. It started with my interviewing museum professionals, as TTT Museum Liaison, about the use of audio tours, apps, and other technologies to enhance exhibit spaces and experiences.

I heard over and over about their budget constraints and concerns regarding insufficient technical support. But I also heard over and over confirmation that they need what we are proposing, that we’re on the right track. This was very affirming.

This research led to my lecturing on User Experience Design (UX) to Museum Studies students at the University of Washington – a highlight of my work with Time Traveler Tours. I loved showing off our Story Tour design and discussing the mission and goals of our educational tourism start-up. I loved being able to show future museum curators that there is more than one way to communicate their passion for history, culture, and art. I loved hearing from these young people how we might tweak our design to make it even more effective.

The past several months, I’ve played two additional roles. I rolled up my sleeves to join the rest of the team as we assembled the creative assets – text, audio, illustrations, and high-context games – for our proof-of-concept app and wired them together to form the singular product you will soon be able to hold in your hand. For me personally, this meant copy-editing and beta-testing the app, again and again. 

But more importantly, I’ve recently assumed the role of Community Manager. I now plan our social media strategy with Sarah and execute our outreach on a daily basis.

 (Image: Summer Skyes 11)

 (Image: Summer Skyes 11)

This last has really surprised me. When Sarah first asked me to take it on, I was reticent. As a Gen X/Millennial “in-betweener,” I GET social media, but I never felt the inherent connection to it that younger folks do. But I’ve really started to enjoy it.

I appreciate being able to promote the content of bloggers whose work resonates with ours; to advertise exhibits at worthy museums, and to see our following grow each day. I find myself opening our Twitter account in my spare moments just to see who has come into our space. It’s delightful to watch TTT&T emerge as a leader in the eLearning and edTech spaces and to know that I’ve been a part of making that happen.

Now my role comes full circle again.

Once the stores have approved IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GIANTS and we have the finished product in the palm of your hands, I get to go back to my contacts in the museum world to offer our services as “developers of innovative educational programming solutions at an affordable cost.”  I get to take the mission of TTT to the next level and help #TurnHistoryOn! 

The success of our Kickstarter led to the development of this app, which is sure to lead to the growth of a creative venture that solves a problem and caters to a need in a fun, groundbreaking way. Whether you’ve contributed to the campaign, read our newsletters, followed us on social media, or are planning to bring IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GIANTS with you on your next trip to Florence, you’ve all been a part of this journey. Trust me when I say that your contribution is very much appreciated among all of us here atTime Traveler Tours & Tales! 

Join me in raising a glass... to you!
Melissa Dusette
Museum Liaison & Community Manager
Time Traveler Tours


Are you a museum professional interested in learning more
about how we can help you turn history on?