Member Profile: Jay Sugarman 


Jay Sugarman is the producer and host of Museum Open House, a popular and culturally enriching new show on NewTV. Since the first episode was filmed this past February, about thirty-four episodes have been produced! Each episode is a chance for Jay to share information about current and upcoming exhibits and various resources at different museums around Massachusetts, and to feature a guest from each museum. He has been pleased with the overwhelmingly positive response and amount of interest from museums, both large and small. The idea of sharing the show with other communities is even being explored.


For almost forty years, Jay worked as teacher, primarily in fourth grade. To him, an important part of teaching was connecting his lessons to the real world. Each day he would start by talking to his students about interesting current events that related to the curriculum or to exploration and invention. He frequently invited visitors to his classroom, and later on in his teaching career visitors were Skyped in. One of his favorite things was taking his students on field trips, a number of which were to museums.


Sharing his passions for education and museums via public television is not new to Jay. Before becoming involved in NewTV, Jay was involved in Brookline Access Television (now Brookline Interactive Group). As a teacher, he used public access television as a medium to shed a positive light on education. At one point, he had a show that originally focused on teachers, but during its last few years shifted its focus to the education that goes on at museums.


During the summer of 2012, after retiring from teaching, Jay wanted to get involved in community media again. Having moved to Newton over 20 years ago, he decided to contact NewTV. He brainstormed ideas for shows and presented the idea of Museum Open House to Michael Sills, Director of Community Media. Jay says, “Michael helped frame the idea and since then has been an invaluable resource for every show, helping with pre-production, production, and crew…He has been the backbone of support.” After taking the necessary steps, Jay was able to begin filming his show. He is grateful for the support of “wonderful volunteers that have helped to direct, [shoot] or provide other assistance during the taping of the programs.”


Each episode features interviews filmed at NewTV with a representative from a museum, usually the director, curator, or education director. Sometimes, he is able to receive video footage courtesy of Carmen Nouel. On occasion, the museum provides video clips. Episodes also include images of current exhibits or special features of the museum. Guests often bring artifacts or items to enhance the discussions. Jay has received, “good feedback from viewers but even more importantly from the museum people. They have been pleased with how the shows have come out. Several have used clips for extensions of their own work and expressed interest in a follow-up program.”


The success of Jay’s show is a testament to his dedication and passion. For him, it is a perfect way to combine his love of education and museums and to utilize the resources available to him in the best possible way. He explains, “I see this as a somewhat teacher role of sharing information and it’s a nice possibility of access television – whoever does whatever show can share something they are interested in with the local community and beyond.” 


For more information on Museum Open House, including links to previous episodes, click here.