Week 7: Museums
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and artistic, cultural, historical, or scientifically important items. They make these items available for public viewing through exhibits.
Some of the most attended museums include the Louvre in Paris, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. There are many types of museums, including art museums, natural history museums, science museums, war museums, and children’s museums. Museums have many different things on display, including paintings, photographs, sculptures, clothing, historical documents, and fossils.
Anthropologists are interested the preservation of artifacts and the ability for them to be displayed for public viewing.
Each clan received one supply box in which to create their own exhibit. The art was created out colored paper, glue, tape, costumes, and other craft supplies. They named their exhibit and displayed all of their items. They then explained their exhibit to others.
This past week at Arcadia, the students became museum curators. Specifically, the Swimming Cheetahs became curators of the clothing and accessories worn by our clan throughout our long and fascinating history. Generous costume donations from the UA Theatre Department provided us with many options for expression.
To begin, we chose one person who would dress up as part of our exhibit. To make this rather difficult decision, we played the who’s-closest-to-my-number game, which will generally solve many of life’s most complicated questions. Our winner was chosen after she mysteriously guessed the number three, which was the exact number that had been chosen. Next, a blind vote led to the decision that this person would dress as royalty. Interestingly, it was a close vote with two votes for “everyday person” and three votes for “royalty.”
After these important decisions had been made, we decided on the hat, robe, and hair-feathers fit for our queen. This took nearly two minutes, so we decided that we should all dress as royal Swimming Cheetahs in the time remaining. The students had free range with their choices in dress.
To have the students think through the experience of curating a clothing exhibit, I asked them to place their style of dress (and themselves) in chronological order. Here’s what we came up with:
We talked about why changes in dress may have occurred. Why did the king’s hat style change? Why did the queen’s robe change? How and why did the queen, formerly known as the Queen, become the Christmas Queen? Turns out, the Swimming Cheetahs really love Christmas.
I encouraged the students to “freeze” like statues. Juliann and I then “visited” the museum exhibit, stopping by each student while s/he explained where s/he fit in the history of royal Swimming Cheetah dress. Overall, it was a great exercise in museum design, and the students (and their instructor) enjoyed dressing as royalty.
The group assigned to me was tasked with building a model house replicating one, which might be found in a museum. The group began by discussing what elements should be a part of the model. The students decided that a roof and an outline of the floor were first priority and divided themselves based on what they wanted to create. Two students built the floor plan on a foam pad using craft sticks, while two others began a roof using craft sticks and construction paper. Those students who did not have a specific int-
erest worked with Robert to build a covered patio model from craft sticks, pipe cleaners and tape. Students were encouraged to work cooperatively and share information between task groups so as to produce a cohesive final project. Unfortunately, time constraints prevented the project from being completed. Nevertheless, the students displayed great enthusiasm throughout the activity and appeared to thoroughly enjoy it.
- Written by Robert Templin
My group made headdresses. They really liked putting antenna-like appendages on their headdresses, and one of the boys decided to use streamers to make himself look like a squid.
The kids had a lot of fun and really enjoyed the activity.
- Written by Larry Monocello