Event Details

MESC Features—Empathy and Museums
November 8 | 1:45 PM - 5:00 PM
$10 MESC Members | $20 Non-Members

Empathy is a developed skill, reinforced through our own interactions with the world. When we are better equipped to understand the needs of other life forms (humans, animals, living things…) we are able to connect, align, and gain new perspectives collaboratively to create a better world together.

Empathy is on the decline, contributing to an era of divisive politics and inequity. We can’t all walk in someone else’s shoes, but we can use tools to understanding the point of view of others and show appropriate emotional response. How can museums work towards fostering empathy and compassion through our institutional initiatives and programs? How could feelings drive action? Join MESC as we dive deep into how empathy can be a guiding thread for you and your institution.

This program is generously hosted by the Los Angeles Zoo and will include a hands-on empathy related activity with animals. Please make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes for the program. Capacity is limited and advanced tickets are required.

Speakers Announced!

Dan Keeffe, Director of Education at the LA Zoo

Dan Keeffe is the Director of Education at the Los Angeles Zoo, where he is privileged to lead a small, talented team who enrich lives by connecting communities to nature. Previous to his work at the Zoo, Dan managed interpretation and training programs at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and led the reinvention of the visitor experience at the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum. Dan has a Master of Science in Education from the Bank Street College of Education.

Diana Terrazas, Community Outreach Manager, Autry Museum of the American West

Diana Terrazas is an enrolled member of the Bishop Paiute Tribe in California. She has worked in the museum field for a decade in various roles, ranging from consultant, museum education and program development to communications. Presently, she is the Community Outreach Manager at the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles where she is responsible for maintaining and developing relationships with community organizations. Diana is the Secretary for the California Indian Basketweavers’ Association, an organization that preserves, promotes and perpetuates California Indian basketweaving traditions while providing a healthy physical, social, spiritual and economic environment for basketweavers.

Dr. Veronica Alvarez, Director of School and Teacher Programs, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Dr. Veronica Alvarez is an educator, historian, and arts advocate. She has worked with elementary, high school, and college students, teaching subjects such as Spanish and ancient Greek and Roman history. Currently, she is the Director of School and Teacher Programs at LACMA. Prior to LACMA, she worked in the Education Department at the Getty Center for over 16 years, mostly writing curricula, creating professional development opportunities for teachers, and overseeing the docent program at the Villa. Veronica has a BA in Liberal Studies and an MA in Ancient Mediterranean history from CSUN. With a passion for learning and museum education, she recently completed her doctorate at LMU’s Educational Leadership for Social Justice Program.

Jordanna Gessler, M.A., Director of Education at the LA Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH)

Jordanna Gessler is the Director of Education at Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust and serves as Co-Chair of the 3G at LAMOTH Executive Board. After completing her B.A. from the University of Vermont in International Relations and Holocaust History, she obtained an M.A. in Holocaust Studies at the University of Haifa. She completed a yearlong internship at Yad Vashem and received the 2014 Yad Vashem Award for Research for M.A. and PhD students. She has spoken at several conferences and written several published articles related to the Holocaust and the social responsibility of today. As a grandchild of Holocaust Survivors, she is dedicated to the importance of preserving the stories, history, and experiences of her family, other Survivors, and the community and educating the next generation of students who will steward this memory.



Am I a MESC member already? How do I find out?

Please email [email protected] to inquire about your current membership status.

How do I purchase a MESC membership?

You may purchase a new membership or renew here.

What are my transportation/parking options nearby?

Parking is free at the Los Angeles Zoo. For more information on getting to the Zoo, please visit https://www.lazoo.org/visit/driving-directions/.

Where do we meet?

Once you arrive, please park in the Zoo’s parking lot. The program will take place in the Children's Discovery Center, to the RIGHT of the Zoo’s main entrance. Look for the glass doors.

Can I sign up for the program the day of the event?

Capacity for this event is limited. We encourage you to secure your ticket in advance.

What kind of access services are available?

This MESC program is wheelchair accessible. Accessible parking spaces are available in the Zoo’s visitor parking lot. A valid disabled person parking placard is required. On days when the Zoo offers Paid Preferred Parking, accessible parking spaces are available in the Paid Preferred Parking free of charge when designated spaces are available

May I visit the Los Angeles Zoo before the program?

Free general admission beginning at Noon will be given to all MESC attendees who arrive early. Admission will include access to the entire Zoo, including Rainforest of the Americas, Elephants of Asia, and the LAIR. To receive early admission, bring your printed Eventbrite ticket to the MESC Welcome table in front of the Children's Discovery Center.

How do I contact you if I have a question?

Please email [email protected] We would love to hear from you!


This program is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

MESC is proud to present this program with generous support from the Los Angeles Zoo, who is providing meeting space and Zoo admission.

Photo © Jamie Pham/Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association

  • When: Thu Nov. 8
    1:45 pm - 5:00 pm

  • Address: 5333 Zoo Dr
    Los Angeles CA,US 90027

  • Web: Visit Website