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New Teaching Collection Opens Opportunities for Object-Based Learning

Friday, September 05, 2014
How can rocks change from one type to another? What was it like to travel and explore Wisconsin 400 years ago? How did Wisconsin’s early settlers use our natural resources? 
 
Visitors attending the museum’s newest education program will discover the answers to these questions – and more – by analyzing objects from the newly established teaching collection. 

Made possible through the generosity of Schreiber Foods, the teaching collection complements a new educational program consisting of 20 inquiry-driven, object-based lessons that tie into central themes from the museum’s permanent exhibit, On the Edge of the Inland Sea.
Areas of exploration include:

1. Thinking like a Historian
What does it mean to think like a historian?

2. The Rock Cycle
How can rocks change from one type to another?

3. A Landscape Shaped Over Time
How did the Ice Age shape Wisconsin?

4. Plants and Animals of the Ice Age
What plants and animals existed at the end of the Ice Age?

5. Wisconsin’s First People
How do we know about people who lived long ago?

6. Native Americans in the Old Time
How did Native American people live in the Old Time?

7. The Age of Exploration
What was it like to travel and explore Wisconsin 400 years ago?

8. The Fur Trade Era
Who participated in the Fur Trade?

9. Treaty Making
What happened to Native American lands in the early 1800s?

10. Building a Town / Building a State
What did the U.S. government do with the land that it got through treaties?

11. Natural Resources
How did Wisconsin’s settlers use our natural resources?

12. Civil War
How did the Civil War affect the people of Wisconsin?

13. Immigration
How do people make a new life in a new place?

14. Peshtigo Fire
What factors led to the Peshtigo Fire?

15. Mass Production and Domestic Life
How did mass production change domestic life during the Gilded Age?

16. The Age of Invention
How did the inventions of the early 1900s change Green Bay?

17. Native Americans in the Modern World
How has Wisconsin’s history affected its Native American people and their way of life?

18. World War I
How did World War I affect Wisconsin?

19. Culture in Northeastern Wisconsin
What are some of the cultural traditions in Northeastern Wisconsin?

20. Preserving History
How do people take care of Wisconsin’s history?

Supporting these lessons are a diverse array of objects, ranging from a physics model of a glacier, to the teeth left behind by Ice Age titans, to the material culture of the immigrant groups who would later settle in this region. 
 
Students will explore the surfaces and materials of authentic and reproduction objects; feeling their weight; and manipulating them, as they must have been handled by their past owners. The physical nature of the activity allows visitors to experience a sense of discovery and excitement as they draw connections between the unfamiliar objects they hold and their own base of experiences. Two new Samsung tablets will supplement the teaching collection, with music, videos, and primary source materials such as photographs, maps, patents, and more!

One of the major strengths of this program is that it is fully customizable and can be adapted to suit a wide range of audiences, interests, and learning modalities. Listed below are just a few of the possibilities:

1.  Target Audience: School Groups
In addition to “Thinking like a Historian” and “Preserving History,” teachers can select up to three areas of focus. These areas will be covered in-depth during their visit and include elements of role-play, storytelling, and hands-on experiences for their students.

2.  Target Audience: High School Students
High school students can volunteer to become Junior Expedition Leaders. Through this mentorship program, students will learn a thematic area and interpretive techniques before progressing to provide family programming on Explorer Saturdays.

3. Target Audience: Families
Beginning in the new year, families visiting the Neville Public Museum on the first day of the month will have the opportunity to participate in Explorer Saturdays, interacting with the Junior Expedition Leaders and objects from the teaching collection.

4. Target Audience: Individuals with Memory Loss
Finally, these objects enable the museum to extend its collections to create meaningful experiences for older adults with dementia and their caregivers.

There are plenty of opportunities to get involved with this exciting program! Teachers may reserve the program for their students by contacting Kirsten Smith at 920-448-7851 or Smith_KA@co.brown.wi.us. Individuals wishing to volunteer as Expedition Leaders can find the Neville Public Museum’s volunteer application here.

Special thanks to Schreiber Foods for their generous support of this project.
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