Learning, Connection and Fun

@CHWKMuseum

Official Blog of the Chilliwack Museum and Archives

Posts Tagged ‘Education’

To ‘do’ History

Posted on: July 19th, 2016 by

This past week I attended the Historical Thinking Summer Institute at the Museum of Vancouver. The course is intended for both museum professionals and teachers to explore The Big Six: Historical Thinking Concepts by Peter Seixas and Tom Morton. The book encompasses a shift in the way that museums and educators look at teaching and learning about history. In place of learning ‘the facts’ of history through textbook rote learning, students are being asked to ‘do’ history. This means actually acting as the historians themselves and constructing their understanding of history through the historical thinking concepts.

 
What are the Big Six?

Seeing historical thinking in action at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston.

Seeing historical thinking in action at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston.

Each of the concepts look at different aspects of constructing an history. They are Historical Significance, Evidence, Continuity and Change, Cause and Consequence, Historical Perspective and the Ethical Dimension.

 
Each concept has separate guideposts which illustrate how to work with them and also offer potential teaching strategies when approaching them with learners. All of the concepts work together to help learners begin to think like an historian. The interpretation of both primary and secondary sources (Evidence) is central to all of the concepts.

 
What does this have to do with museums?

 
Although historians and curators may use the historical thinking concepts, the process and skills that are used to put histories, exhibits together have not always been transparent. By sharing this process and helping to teach others to ‘do’ history themselves, museums and archives can open their collections to further understandings and interesting collaborations with the communities they work with.

 
Embracing the historical thinking concepts

 
This past week was filled with inspiring conversations with both museum professionals and teachers alike. The potential (and need!) for collaborations amongst teachers, museums, universities and so on stood out. We have a common interest and passion for history education and there are many ways we can better work together.

Using low-tech and hi-tech teaching strategies for an exhibit based historical thinking game!

Using low-tech and hi-tech teaching strategies for an exhibit based historical thinking game!

As part of our course, we were asked to work in groups, to come up with ideas on how to encourage and incorporate the historical thinking concepts into our practice, whether in the classroom, for a museum program or as an exhibit. Our group took a game-based approach and came up with an exhibit based game which had students thinking critically about primary sources, historical significance and perspectives.

 
There are so many great ideas and ways to bring historical thinking into museums. Leaving this course left me feeling inspired and enthusiastic to bring these ideas into my work here.

 
You can check out some of the photos and thoughts shared at this year’s institute with #HTSI2016.

Summer Outreach and Events

Posted on: June 16th, 2016 by

Myself and our summer student, Kelsey, have been working hard to get ready for summer here at the museum and out in the community. We’re looking forward to taking part in Canada Day celebrations as well as Party in the Park with the Downtown Chilliwack BIA.

Kelsey poses with one of our new Discovery Bins. Come visit to find out what's inside!

Kelsey poses with one of our new Discovery Bins. Come visit to find out what’s inside!

Getting out into the community and taking part in events is important to us as we seek to share our community’s history! This year we’re focusing on bringing fun hands-on activities to these events that will help tell the story of our past for both young and old alike.

 
Each Party in the Park night we’ll be focusing on a different topic that relates to Chilliwack’s history. Join us at our tent to learn more about Chilliwack and check out our selection of local history books, including the recently re-published Chilliwack Story.

 
We’re also planning to bring the fun inside the museum with our updated Discovery Bins. Each bin contains hands-on objects and activities on specific topics to explore. We’ll be highlighting the bins with activities each week of the summer – find out what’s happening here!

 
As we get closer to the final few months of our exhibit Game On! The Evolution of Sports in Chilliwack, we’ll be inviting families to join us on July 30th for a Family Fun Day at the museum including tours, sports activities, games, prizes and more! We hope to see you there!

The Perfect Combination of History and Education

Posted on: June 1st, 2016 by

Being fairly new to the museum community, my first month as the Education and Engagement Assistant has been full of learning. Not only am I learning more about Chilliwack’s history and our current exhibits, I am learning about a new career possibility.

 

The Chilliwack Museum and Archives snapchat code.

The Chilliwack Museum and Archives snapchat code.

For as long as I can remember, my goal has been to become an elementary school teacher. I enjoy working with kids and I love helping people learn. I am currently working towards a history major at the University of the Fraser Valley. However, as I get closer to finishing my degree, I worry that I won’t be able to embrace history in an elementary classroom as much as I would like. With little interest in teaching middle and secondary grades, I’ve found myself wondering what other job possibilities there are that embrace both education and history. Working along side the Education and Engagement Coordinator has been extremely helpful in teaching me about an amazing career option. Not only does this position let you dive into history, it also provides the opportunity to work with children through the various school programs offered at the museum.

 
In my first month here, I’ve had the opportunity to take part in many of the different aspects of the position. I’ve helped facilitate some of the school programs, both here at the museum and at the schools. I’ve also participated in several meetings with teachers about an exciting new local history kits project. These meetings are one of my favourite things I’ve been able to take part in. Being able to see and give input on a collaboration between the museum and the teachers is wonderful. It’s made me aware of the various things I could do as a future teacher along with the museum.

 

Gathering supplies for the Discovery Cupboard update!

Gathering supplies for the Discovery Cupboard update!

I’ve also been able to take part in my own projects, such as creating a museum snapchat (CHWKmuseum). After seeing that various other museums had successful snapchats, such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, I was inspired to create one, hoping to use it as a fun way to interact with the younger generations. The main project I’ve been working on over the past month was updating and revamping our Discovery Cupboard. The Discovery Cupboard is an important part of our museum, as it is designed to provide engaging and hands on bins for kids. I have been working hard to reorganize the content of the bins and have more guided activities in them as well. Be sure to keep up to date with the museum as we will be hosting crafts throughout July and August to highlight our newly updated Discovery Cupboard.

 
Overall, my first month at the museum has been full of exciting projects, experiences and learning about different career options that combine both history and education. I’m excited to see what more projects and experiences are to come for the rest of the summer.

 

Kelsey Ablitt, Education and Engagement Assistant

Sparking Conversations

Posted on: March 30th, 2016 by

Tomorrow evening we are welcoming viaSport BC to the museum along with four female panelists for our Game On! Women in Sport event. As our archivist mentioned in a previous blog post, this is somewhat of an unusual event for the museum. Yet these types of events are very relevant to the work of museums today.

The_Chilliwack_Progress_Thu__Nov_1__1928_

One of the newspaper clippings I found while searching for articles covering women in sports. Chilliwack Progress Newspaper Clipping, November 1, 1928 page 8.

 
I’m very excited that we were able to make the connection with viaSport to host such a great event for our community. History is a living part of who we are, it has shaped the way we live, how we communicate with each other, and even how we go forward into the future. Understanding our past helps us better understand our present, in order to better shape the future. This is exactly what Game On! Women in Sport is all about. We’ll be shining a light on the achievements of women athletes in the past, looking at how far women have come in sports today and talking about goals and dreams for women in sport in the future. What would this event look like 50 years from now? What memorabilia, stories, artifacts, newspaper articles would tell the story of women in sport then?

 
Hosting an event like this inevitably sparks interesting conversation, even before the event has occurred. Over the last few weeks, I’ve had great conversations about not only women in sports but the history of sports in general with museum volunteers, journalists, athletes and so on. I’ve learned about style guides for journalists which describe appropriate language for writing about women athletes, I’ve heard stories of frustration when facing sexism in the sports world, and I’ve learned a lot about the importance of leveling the field in sports from our viaSport partners.

 
As I go forward with planning for the next year of events here at the museum, I’ll look to find opportunities like this one to build on the stories our exhibits start to tell and to spark conversations which are relevant not only today but for the future as well. History is not only important to learn about in order to understand our past, but it helps inform our actions as we look towards the future.

 

The Local Connection

Posted on: January 20th, 2016 by
Bytown Museum

In front of the Bytown Museum after a skate on the Rideau Canal, construction of which was supervised by Colonel By himself.

A number of years ago I worked at the Bytown Museum in Ottawa, a local history museum much like the Chilliwack Museum. As a native Ottawan, I enjoyed being surrounded by my city’s history; I learned more about the growth of ‘Bytown’, which later became Ottawa, than I had in all my years of schooling in the city. Much of Ottawa’s history involved the once very affluent lumber industry and a whole floor of the museum was dedicated to sharing this story. I knew that many of my ancestors had been involved in lumber along the Ottawa River. Learning more about this history gave me a strong sense of place and helped me connect with my family’s part in Ottawa’s story.

Place-based Learning

Place-based learning wasn’t very common when I went through the Ontario curriculum. Educator’s, more and more, are recognizing the importance of learning about and through the place where you live – whether it is studying the surrounding countryside for science and geography classes or learning about local history in social studies. Making connections to ‘the local’ is an important aspect of learning in today’s schools.

Curriculum

Part of the Christmas Program set-up. This is where I made countless mashed potato candies this past Christmas.

Part of the Christmas Program set-up. This is where I made countless mashed potato candies this past Christmas.

The new BC Curriculum reflects this. A quick search for the word ‘local’ in the new online curriculum brings up hits at all grade levels. As a local history museum, we have a unique opportunity to support Chilliwack’s schools as they adapt to this new curriculum. Our Christmas program, which has become somewhat of a tradition with many Chilliwack schools, has been sharing local stories with school children for years. This past Christmas, I was able to offer the program again and not only shared some interesting and fun stories with over 400 children, teachers and adults, but learned more about Chilliwack along the way. Quite often a name or picture would spark someone’s memory about a place or person they knew. This is why place-based learning is so effective, it offers a chance for learners and teachers to take part in an exchange of knowledge, learning together and using the place where they live as common ground.

Making Connections

Continuing to bring place-based learning into school programming while connecting to the new curriculum will be an important part of our future programs. But learning about the place where you live doesn’t have to just happen in school. If you’re like me, learning your city’s history can be just as meaningful and important as an adult. Connecting with your local museum is one way to unlock some of those hidden secrets about your city’s past.