Officials with the
Museum Educator Jaryn Abdallah said officials with the Polk Home and other local organizations are working to create history-based activities that can be incorporated into the classroom or area museums. These activities can be used as resources for local teachers or community groups.
"We are really fortunate in that we see a lot of
The hope is to incorporate the activities being developed into post-field trip lessons and maybe even display some of the art and crafts created by students at the Polk Home, Price said. As it becomes harder for schools to host field trips, Price said the activities are also a way of keeping Polk in the classroom.
One of the first activities being planned for October involves the creation of political campaigns and posters by students.
"During election years, we have talked about the significance and changes in electioneering over time," Price said. "We have done different programs with the kids, like reproducing the campaigns of 1844, music programs and speeches. The very first campaign poster was done during the election of 1844 when
Price said the lesson can also be incorporated with the current exhibit at the Polk Home, "The Face of a President," which shows how the advent of photography influenced political campaigning.
"This is really the first election where how a candidate looks matters," Price said. "That comes out of the rise of lithography. There is a lithograph of
Other programs being planned include how Christmas was celebrated in Polk's period, a family game night and period gardening, Abdallah said.
"The gardens here have changed so much from the times the Polks lived here," she said. "It went from what was a subsistence farm to the beautiful garden we have today."
Most of these activities will have an arts emphasis, which Abdallah said slowly disappearing from school curricula.
"It's hard today with very rigorous testing schedules to do these activities," she said. "For kids, hands-on activities are so important for learning and connecting with the material. I think it's hard for teachers sometimes to get all that stuff together. If sites like the Polk Home can say, 'here is everything you need for these activities,' I think that would helpful."
Price said museums can also provide students with a more tangible experience than a textbook. An example is the annual
"There are things a museum can do that a classroom can't," he said. "It provides the visual stimulation they can't get out of a book or a classroom. They can feel and experience history in the place like the Polk Home, the Athenaeum or aMuse'um that they can't get anywhere else.
Abdallah has met with representatives of the
"We will definitely need some volunteers," Abdallah said. "We definitely welcome anyone who is interested in the planning part of this. We welcome any suggestions, especially from teachers. We want to know how we can help them in a better way."
The overall goal is not only to get the Polk Home more involved with the community, but to bring the community into the Polk Home, she said.
"It's hard to know where you are unless you know where you've been," Abdallah said. "The Polk Home is such an important part of
Price said the Polk Home has been open to the public since 1929 but continues to change.
"We want to continue to be a dynamic and changing site," he said. "We want to provide good educational, informational and entertainment content to the public as well."
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