Museums and Teachers Need to Unite

The following is the title of a presentation I took notes on about a month ago: “Collections in the Classroom: Museums and Teachers unite”
Currently as an instructor with 85 university students in Composition, I have not had much time to devote to our museum these days. I am glad I went to the AALSH conference when I did, before the heavy duty papers were coming at me to grade. It is good to be in the middle of October yet with our temps, it still feels like September, Indian Summer. Soon it will be snowing here and we will forget about all the wonderful tree colors that are ablaze and green grass that will be covered in white.

Anyway, I am glad I have a job and I am glad I can volunteer at the museum, just the two are not getting equal time…kind of like this blog. Too busy to write. Soon I will have a break, I’m happy that my husband bought tickets for us to see the grandkids in December when we will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. Difficult to believe, but true. The following are my notes from what I took at one of the AALSH sessions:

Pick primary sources that are available for teachers – they had it wired so that people could ask questions simultaneously to their giving their presentation. They had people choose what picture the teachers would like over what the museum people from MNHS chose. The museum chose people with the billboards while the teachers chose the crowd shot that had more going on and not as obvious. Differences exist in what museum people look at and what teachers know kids will like. The eye opener was to find out that the museum people picked the wrong photo

Standards – state and national – there is no social studies common core. There is C3 = Career, College and Civic Life
Historical thinking skill
Inquiry based learning
Stanford History education group (SHEG)
Library of Congress teaching
National archives – Tent Summer Institute
Teachers prefer smaller created displays and not large databases (takes too much time to pore over)

Students want something that is relevant and to answer the question “Why does it matter?”
“Primary Source Speak” – become fluent in primary source lingo
Students need to feel engaged and connected.
The MNHS had a hard tack, a cracker that was 120 years old but you have to give context for the students to appreciate that.
There is a Primary Source disconnect – teachers and students are a unique audience
Teachers are typically not experienced researchers
Eisenhower wrote an eloquent letter to the troops before D-Day (a museum person would appreciate this) However, a letter WITH a photo of Eisenhower talking to the troops is much more appreciated by the students. Connect letter with photo.

Collections Speak – create resources with teacher collaboration – organize by theme and topic. “If you Walked in My Shoes” from Smithsonian, each pair of shoes tells a different story. Everyone wears shoes, they can relate to this exhibit
Host focus groups – LOC (Library of Congress) primary sources, apply for the $5,000 to $15,000 grants…hold institutes

Primary Source camps – teaching students to be histories – posing and answering questions about…

What teachers want – need to use a selection criteria – encourage critical thinking and inquiry, provide historical evidence. Multiple perspectives, relevant to students, invokes emotions (The preference for K-Grade 4 = everyday objects but for Grades 5-12 students = event based)

Give historical context – using high quality photography is very important but written at a 6th grade level, use links to additional info

Website for National History Day – tons of resources. MNHS History Day – designed with Smithsonian such as the 100 year anniversary of WWI
Talk about the Distinguished Service Cross medal for example, list the soldiers, personalize this by getting to learn about ONE soldier from that long list. Digging into battle fields, some 6th graders wrote an editorial about this and it got published.
Need a personal book, use another HOOK – turning the classroom into the collection, make the students mini-curators of their own artifact. For example some student might bring a piggy bank to the classroom the first week of school. They have to dig and find the background of what piggy banks were used originally for. How do you record – tell a story of the artifact, some get very personal, but it is relevant to the students – info graphics
Virgil FOL Tangborn Itunes course
Am. Assoc. for State – Outline 1) purpose 2) resources 3) results
Social Media – Twitter, digital artifacts
Author Gary Paulson “Charlie Doddard – Civil War
Ipads, ibooks, homework completion rates went up
Copyright Addendum
Educational clause (Sec. 11011) doesn’t provide for unlimited classroom use
1 created before 1923 – it is okay to use
2 created by federal government
3 if lives in public domain

Primary source accessibility – consider maintenance
“Tumbler” museum
Housing covenant for Ramsey County – restrictive
1947 post WWII, there was a contract that was against blacks, Mongolians to move into that area of the Twin Cities
Civil Right movement, it did happen here, segregation
Inside-out – happened in our locality – Andrew Volstead was from MN but hated by many for the stand he took against
Outside in – restrictive out, Jim Crowe lynching
Personalizing – not just a range of dates, statistics
1 LOC – primary source sets – created a teachers guide
2 Montgomery County in Maryland – created a website
3 Smithsonian project

Traveling trunks are very popular
Send stuff Ohio history Connection – rent boxes
Collection of replicas and artifacts
Olmstead County (Rochester) – kids are tactile
British Museum – teaching history 100 organizations, from 5,000 B.C. to present, connected to all the teaching standards
Fire Museum of Maryland – example of Jesse James duster in Northfield, bring in other facts about the banks, robberies
Newseum: Digital Classrooms
Freeborn County Historical Society: Discover History in Albert Lea, this is a HUGE community event

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