Ryland Madison and Maxwell Fisher Madison

Recorded January 23, 2020 Archived January 23, 2020 33:51 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: ddf000461


Ryland Madison (52) and his son Maxwell Madison (14) talk about their relationship to The New Children's Museum, remember interacting with the different installations through Max's childhood, and discuss what the museum has taught them. Ryland also shares memories of playing with cardboard boxes and how that influenced his career as an engineer later on.

Subject Log / Time Code

RM talks about The New Children's Museum's efforts to provide a space for kids in the community.
RM says his kid inspires him in his work with the museum and hoped to give him a safe place to play, be creative, and be himself.
RM discusses his work as an Imagineer at Disney and how he carried that work into his collaborations with the museum.
RM explains the impact that The New Children's Museum has had on San Diego, and notes that it has become a third space for children and families.
RM talks about his uncle who raised him from when he was 9 and who taught him to be hardworking, creative, and good to others.
MM says the museum makes him feel free, and that he hopes it'll be there for other children to experience as well.
RM says the museum reminds him of imagination play as a kid.
MM remembers the excitement of visiting new installations and that this experience helped him learn to be excited for change.
RM shares the story of how he became involved with the museum. He wanted to serve kids in the community and pass on the good experiences he saw Max having in the museum.


  • Ryland Madison
  • Maxwell Fisher Madison

Recording Location

The New Children's Musem

Venue / Recording Kit

Partnership Type

Fee for Service


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00:02 Hi, I'm Ryland Madison. I'm 52 years old. Today is January 22nd 2020 and we are in San Diego, California?

00:16 My interview partner here is my son Max and he's my son. Hi, I'm Maxwell Madison, and I'm 14 and it is January 22nd 2020 and I am also at the San Diego new Children's Museum and I am in interviewing my dad Ryland Madison. So what is about the museum that you are most connected to?

00:48 That's a good question. So I think that thing that most connects me to this museum is its profound impact on the community and specifically on children in the community and the way that it gives back to the children by them.

01:08 Being here for them and being able to interact and have this amazing place in their lives.

01:18 That's great. How was the museum made? How is the museum made a difference in your life?

01:27 Another good question and then I'm looking at him that is held but Museum expanded difference in my life. I've seen you grown up here since you were three and it's about much more than just a exhibits. It's about your experience and just your state of being your way of being here in the museum and being able to have given you this opportunity.

02:02 To get you to think in a different way play in a safe space.

02:10 Be creative and just really have something that I didn't growing up as a kid.

02:20 How many really really is an amazing place and it's much more than just the art in the exhibits here. It's about the kids like you interacting and through that interaction helping them become more creative and better thinkers unique thinkers in an unstructured way and

02:48 Beyond that means the world to me to have been able to give you this experience.

02:55 What or who inspired spires you or keeps you motivated to support the museum.

03:03 All right. Here we go. I think we're going to cry.

03:08 So again, I'm going to pitch it over to you is that you're the one who inspires me?

03:15 And what you represent being a child in the innocence of being a child and

03:23 To be able to have

03:26 Creative outlets and a safe space a space that you can kind of call your own and kind of just let yourself Dakota state where you can just be free and carefree.

03:48 Yeah, you are my my inspiration and

03:54 When I see kids here at the Museum because I was a board member for for 6 years. Every time I see those kids I see you growing up here and how much you mean to me and that's part of the reason why I wanted to give back and I served on the board so that I could pass it forward to others and make sure that this space remains for other children like yourself.

04:30 Describe what Contemporary Art and exploration bring two children and families.

04:43 So

04:46 I think Contemporary Art is very important. It's it's art in the present time. So it's art that you can relate to.

04:56 And it's art that both children can relate to and are that their parents can relate to

05:04 And I learned a long time ago. I was fortunate to

05:14 Work for the Walt Disney Company as an imagineer and I know you probably heard this this story before as an engineer. I thought everything kind of fit in a box and had a solution but what I learned there was the best Solutions came from the creative side of the team from the painters from the sculptors from the illustrators from the artists and that's what I saw here and the Contemporary Art helps

05:52 Kids and their parents as they see through their kids to learn through that art and learn in a way that

06:05 Yelm you don't necessarily follow 123 and come to solution like when I used to be an engineer right out of school and now I realize that some of the best Solutions are the creative ones that the ones that you don't have to over engineer there their they're eloquent

06:32 And they usually take a lot more thought and then take a different way of thinking and that's the sort of thing that I see when I see the kids interacting with the Contemporary Art. It invokes that different unique creative way of thinking to get to a solution that you probably wouldn't get too. Otherwise by following steps 1 2 3

06:59 Straight talk about the impact. Do you think the museum is making in San Diego and Beyond?

07:11 The impact in San Diego and and Beyond, you know, the museum kind of access a third space if you will so for kids, you know, their first space is probably their home.

07:26 And nothing can replicate that their home is where they're cared for and where they're loved and their second space is likely the classrooms or school where they know they probably spend the second most amount of time.

07:41 And the new children's museum access a third space at 3rd, very important space especially for children in our community. And that's what it means to our community. And in the sense that it is such a unique Museum.

07:58 There's nothing else like it in United States of America and

08:05 I know being a board for board member that we've had visitors from other countries. Come here to see what

08:13 The artists have been doing with the exhibits are like to watch the kids interact to see the space. So I know that it doesn't quite exist anywhere else in the world. And that's really the contribution that we're giving to the community in the world to the media Community. It's a third space for children to call their own.

08:38 Where they can be safe and by calling it their own.

08:43 They're able to kind of let loose and be creative in a way that they're not necessarily creative in their home or in their school. Not say those two places are great. But this is one that when you call your own you set the rules.

09:01 You can be creative, you know, you set the bar for whatever creativity means to you. And then for the world it means that this is a model that they get to replicate or other kids in other countries get to experience hopefully through that replication and hopefully people take this take it back to their country and try to recreate the space and I I believe that this space is unique and hopefully the space that they're creating and their country is unique and feels the needs for them, but it serves as the blueprint for the world and children and every country.

09:47 Can I say thank you.

09:55 Describe the person who has the biggest influence on your life. And what have they taught you.

10:03 A person who has had the biggest influence in my life and what have they talked me.

10:11 Well

10:14 Person first comes to mind is my uncle

10:18 And my parents passed away when I was very young and my uncle moved at the time from Mexico City. He had dual citizenship both Mexican citizenship and citizenship in the USA and he moved here and he helped raise me from the point of 9 and 1/2 years old until I was an adult and Beyond 18 young adult and he taught me to not only have a strong work ethic be good to others to be good to myself, but he also taught me to have fun and be creative and to think out-of-the-box.

11:14 So what I think of him I kind of

11:19 And weighs think of the new children's museum because I remember how much he invested in me.

11:26 And how much you believe in me and how much he gently pushed me and I can still remember in his own voice.

11:37 Telling me never to set the bar according to anyone else to set my own bar for myself.

11:44 And by doing so I would likely.

11:48 Exceed anyone else's bar.

11:52 And it takes a very creative individual and a very caring and loving individual to say that to someone.

12:03 So

12:06 We had a lot of fun times together in a lot of creative times together and we

12:12 Would spend time doing Hobbies. He taught me to do many things from fishing to

12:24 How to drive a boat pilot of boats to we went camping we spend a lot of time in the outdoors a lot of creative time.

12:36 He helped me with my school work. We did our projects together.

12:42 We did creative things even in the garden. We had different fruit trees. He showed me how to love like take a branch from one fruit tree.

12:53 And grafted onto another one and we made something that was a hybrid of a peach and a plum whatever that was. I don't know what it was to take to get so he taught me to think out of the box and I guess now talking out loud in a way. That's what I'm doing here at the Museum first and foremost with you. Hopefully know being the best parent and Dad Papa I can pee

13:31 And then taking that I wanted to give back to the community as you grew up and so being a board member here over the last six years. I was able to give back to more than just you but to many other children and help them be creative. I don't know if anyone ever grafted a Plum Branch onto a peach tree here, but I did see many of kids doing stem projects painting seen you do some projects. Do you remember any projects that you did hear?

14:17 River Building like a marionette

14:20 Oh my gosh. Yes. I remember that was a great experience being able to build it and put together the strings to be able to in learning to teach like teaching me how to move it around to be able to make it move that was

14:38 A great time. I'm trying to think of the artist who was here. That day was name was Bassel.

14:46 Do you remember my name? I remember that name cuz it's so unique. So did he teach you cuz remember he was doing all of that marionette with his various artists and co-workers with him in the sort of like cineraria the museum.

15:10 Enough with the questions for me. What? What's your what's the first?

15:16 What's the first exhibit you remember here?

15:21 First exhibit I remember coming to the museum would have to be the tire room which was a great big room full of very squishy pillow tires up to like my small four-year-old like the height of me my small four-year-old like I could barely see over that and it was just an amazing time that you could run around in and just like very just be free and fun and just excited to run around and just be crazy.

15:55 It was probably one of the best experiences here.

16:00 Yeah, that sounds about right you were about four years old. When he first when I first started bringing your hair. Yeah, I'm not quite sure the way that I wrote and then we remember over the years now cuz they rotate the exhibits the tire room disappeared and it was gone for several years and then they brought it back and I think now it's called.

16:25 No Limits except

16:30 Something like that. And where you 12 when they brought it back. It was a couple years ago. I guess you must have been I believe so. Do you remember what you first do when I said hey, they brought the room back I sprinted away and went diving straight into the room diving headfirst into the pillow tires through off your shoes and you literally went leaping through the air.

16:56 So

16:59 So how did that make you feel? How does the museum make you feel?

17:03 The museum it makes me feel free and fun, but also hopeful because it was such a great experience for me. It taught me to be creative and just be myself and by be who I am, but it gives me hope that it will be here for the future and all the children that will come to see it in the future and it's just an amazing place. So I am very happy that I got to spend so much time here, and it makes me very happy.

17:38 That's awesome. Thank you for sharing that Max.

17:44 Let's see.

17:48 Think of another question

17:56 What was your favorite exhibit?

18:03 My favorite exhibit would have to be

18:07 Wonder sound when they're sound when they're sad, it would have to be my favorite because it just it's so

18:17 Different it's very unique in its order.

18:23 Let's you be unique and its own way like it is like no other exhibit and it is just odd and strange and embodies the like crazy wild body agar young child mentality and it would have to be my favorite just for like being able to connect with so many children that come to the museum. So that's a great like feeling description of it. So, how would you describe it? You note to someone like the physical traits of what one or two words, would you use to say what it is?

19:10 A playground of the extreme

19:14 A playground of the stream. Wow, so when I was growing up

19:20 I used to save up Stacks and stacks of newspapers. I know you're probably thinking what the heck's a newspaper.

19:29 Almost right in cardboard boxes, and we used to build the Box fortresses.

19:35 And so that's what wondersound actually kind of makes me think of I am it's wonderful that you have your own interpretation. It's so you know.

19:45 Thought & emotion provoking for me reminds me of when I was growing up using your building this Fortress and it was part Maze part for Tris, but you're right wondering sound is so unique because it's much more than just amazing Fortress. It has its and there's a higher hieroglyphs is the right answer but has its own language writing throughout. What else do you like about it?

20:20 I just like that it can next it can connect to so many people just because it's so unique and that you can see it in so many different ways from your perspective and how you are and that it just

20:38 It is just different to everyone in that.

20:49 It is whatever you want it to be.

20:52 Like you can use it like for any kind of creativity. It's just

21:02 It just is anything else it is not defined by humans. It just is unique to everyone. I think I get what you're saying. It takes it allows everyone to apply their own imagination to it. And so for me, it takes me back to a time when I was a little kid that used to build fortresses out of cardboard boxes in newspapers.

21:28 Into someone else it might take them away to a magical land that maybe they've experienced once upon a time in a dream that they've had and for someone else they might be holding down the fort and being I don't know a cowboy or no one nights or something like that, but it lets them experience their own imagination or their imagination come to life kiss.

21:58 Perfect description of it

22:00 So now I like that I like I like hearing what you have to say about about the exhibits here because often times we have different perspectives based on how we grown up. The people that we all have surrounded us throughout our lives. And so we look at things differently through our own eyes.

22:25 Thank you for sharing that Max.

22:45 So one of the things that this Museum kind of reminds me of his when I used to play as a kid, so I didn't have this Museum space. So I really had to use my imagination to play so we did things like my neighbors on My Block we lived on a circle and we would do things like kind of seek.

23:11 Or

23:15 Marco Polo one of my friends Tim had a pool

23:21 And

23:23 It was kind of structured play if you will.

23:27 And it wasn't as creative.

23:32 And so when I see the museum here, I see it being much more creative and my my ways of playing that were creative usually ended up being myself or me with my uncle. So either we would paint or we would put together a puzzle.

23:54 But in that sense now that I think back it was pretty structured you play a game you go by the rules of the game you put together a puzzle. There's definitely one outcome.

24:09 Unless of course you have a hammer.

24:16 And

24:18 Like I said now that I serve talking out loud here in the museum the playground at set up for kids and even adults. I mean, I've played around wondersound with you and and some of the other exhibits and it set up by artist to be purposely creative. You cannot not be creative like you just described wondersound, you know, it could be you know for me it was like taking me back to my childhood and I think the most creative play I had was building those fortresses out of cardboard and imagining being someplace else but as you said

25:03 It can evoke creativity differently in different people.

25:10 So, you know for you, you've always known this space you've always gotten to be creative. And when I look at you know your capabilities over the years you you are phenomenal drawer.

25:25 Yeah, you can draw really well and I know they have like a sketching forward downstairs and I've seen you run to it over the years and so as we talked here now, I'm starting to think how much influence did that have on your drawing on your creativity and that is an outlet in an outlet not just for creating drawings or paintings. But an outlet to calm your mind down nose so often we were so busy and

26:01 We look for ways and Outlets of relaxing.

26:06 And creating space

26:08 And I see you having this just phenomenal amount of

26:15 Patience

26:17 I mean you can sit there and you can read since fifth grade. You're able to read me a long passages of books. I mean you were from 5th grade. You were reading Harry Potter.

26:33 And then sixth grade wasn't it Hunger Games?

26:38 I think it was some Game of Thrones Game of Thrones. You probably not very many kids that say they could read through the 6th grade. It's you know, it's it's some of the skill sets that I think that

26:57 That are held here in this Museum.

27:01 So

27:03 On the surface. It looks like you're sketching.

27:06 But what you're really learning to do is calm your mind and focus.

27:12 And it's that common Focus.

27:15 Those seem to skills that allow you to sit down for long periods of time and read a book.

27:23 And

27:26 It makes me super happy because as I look forward, you still have a long life to live your only 14 and I think about one of my greatest lessons in college was the ability to teach myself. I realized if I could pick up a book and read the class notes that I could teach myself the subject and

27:50 Again, now as we're speaking here. I think you know, that's one of the skill sets to skill sets focus and patience that you've learned and that's going to take you forward to make you successful in college and they bility to learn.

28:06 When your comprehension is off the charts, we know that you're able to read a thick book like Game of Thrones then Tire volumes and pretty much understand and remember all of the scenes in the characters. So congratulations. I'm super impressed with you Max.

28:32 But what else what else makes you excited about the museum or thoughts or

28:41 Memories We want to share

28:49 I think some of my best memories here at the Museum just always are coming to the museum for to see the new installations and hoping there be new installations it always sort of taught me to be excited for change it like it.

29:12 It's what it taught me that change wasn't always bad and that it could be fun. And I'm really it always opened my eyes to something new and that

29:26 There was so much more to learn every time coming with something different and that I'm just excited to see what else knew will come to the museum.

29:37 Wow, that's huge.

29:41 I can tell you as an adult. I have a lot of adult friends that don't look forward to change.

29:47 As adults we kind of get comfortable not stuck but comfortable in our ways. So then when change does come along it's uncomfortable.

29:58 And we become a little bit resistance. So for you to be able to say that it taught you the change can be fun.

30:07 And that you're flexible and that sense. It's huge.

30:11 Thank you for sharing that.

30:18 Do you have any other questions for me or thoughts?

30:26 How did you become involved with the museum?

30:32 Let's see the story in 60 Seconds.

30:39 Actually before the museum was in this location a friend of mine asked me to come to a fundraiser for the museum.

30:48 And I've always had an affinity to helping kids.

30:55 This always been ingrained in me is to help others and I attended that fundraiser and I

31:05 We sold in the vision of what the museum meant to children and our community and

31:15 Zoom forward a few years later you were born.

31:20 And when you turn 3 I started bringing here at the Museum and I saw how much fun you were having.

31:28 And we came to museum several times and I thought to myself I can give back.

31:37 So right around the time when you were eight years old, I applied and was accepted to the board of the museum here and that's how I could give back cuz I felt like the museum was contributing to you so much that I wanted to contribute back to the museum so that it could be here for generations to come and I in turn was really giving back to all those other kids as well. Not just you and that gave me a great sense of satisfaction and just overall feeling good.

32:19 So that's kind of my story with the museum and how I

32:24 Started and stayed connected and even now and I was at I've turned off the board. I've served my two terms of three years and according to the by-laws. You can only serve six years total. I'm still connected to the museum. I know you've gotten a little bit older now 14 and we come here a little less off, but I think I'm always be connected to the museum. And cuz I see how much good it's done in our community and all over the world and how much good is done, especially

33:01 Two children just like you once were

33:07 Thank you Max. I love you. Love you, too.

33:22 I don't know if I have any questions left. Do you have any questions more for me? I think this has been a good conversation. Thank you. You're welcome. Thank you NEX.