Friday, August 14, 2009

‘Traveling Trunk’ offers hands-on lessons

Museum program will use artifacts to teach history to kids


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

A trunk assembled by Blaine County Historical Museum Secretary Jane Rosen includes artifacts to be used in a hands-on history program designed for school children. Photo by David N. Seelig

How much history can you fit into a steamer trunk? The Blaine County History Museum and some local schoolteachers hope to find out.

Blaine County grade school children could see history come alive this fall when the Blaine County Historical Museum "Traveling Trunk" comes to their classrooms.

The trunk will be a teaching aid, containing historical artifacts that give a hands-on history lesson, beginning with the valley's earliest inhabitants and reaching through time to the mining boom and sheep herding era, and continuing through the current tourist-based economy.

Some of the historical items will be borrowed from the museum; some will be purchased specifically for the trunk.

Blaine County Historical Museum Secretary Jane Rosen and a few volunteers, including fourth-grade schoolteacher Mary Bird and retired pre-school teacher Sue Rowland, developed the novel idea of bringing local history alive with physical artifacts.

Based upon teacher interviews, one of the major design premises of the trunk is to ensure adequate flexibility to suit the varying needs of different classrooms and organizations,, such as their location, subject matter, allotted time and student age.

"Children learn more from touching and doing and hearing live stories," said Rosen, who will invite guest speakers from the community to weave tales based on the artifacts in the trunk.

Items will include maps, photographs, costumes and artifacts for everyday use such as old keys, kitchen implements, arrowheads and bank stamps.

The museum is eager to collect more artifacts and memorabilia from the community to use in the Traveling Trunk.

"We have had a deerskin jacket and a beaded cape already donated," said Rosen, who was jumpstarted in her plans by a $250 grant from College of Southern Idaho.

Traveling Trunk teachers will use an outline of Blaine County History ranging from the Paleolithic times (14,000 years ago) to the creation of the Sun Valley Resort (1930s) and beyond. Individual teachers or organization leaders can pick and choose the items in the outline that would be most beneficial to their needs and time frames.

The trunk can be checked out from the museum for a period of a week; if needed, extended time may be granted.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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