Museum takes history to the schools
Of the Record staff The Park City Museum offers students the chance to see what life was like when the main industry of this town was mining, not skiing. To help teach students about Park City s mining heritage, the museum s education curator, Lola Beatlebrox, has prepared four educational trunks, full of historical artifacts, photographs, and lesson materials to send to second-grade classes. The whole curriculum is about community, Beatlebrox said. This community grew up as a mining community. If you didn t know that, know before skiing there was another industry here. Last year, Beatlebrox piloted the program with Park City schools and currently she s loaned trunks to North and South Summit school districts. A goal is to teach students local history, so they re better prepared when they come to museum on a field trip. Beatlebrox said she could tell the difference between classes who had access to the trunks before they visited and those that didn t. I love it when their eyes light up and they truly understand what was different about their lives compared to life yesterday, Beatlebrox said. There were no CDs, if you wanted to make music, you played the piano yourself. The trunks include about 50 historical photographs, a clothespin doll, copper pipe, dynamite, 19th Century games like wooden tops or yoyos, a carbide lamp and a contemporary lamp, and much more. The trunks also have a large container full of beans, with four silver beans hidden inside, to show how much material miners had to move to uncover silver ore. Beatlebrox prepared the trunks to answer kids questions like where did mining families shop, come from, go to school and what did they do for fun. She included photographs and information on the mining family of John Anderson, or Karl Johan Andreason in his native Norway, who converted to the LDS Church and moved to Park City in the late 19th Century. The trunk s resource guide has plans for up to 15 lessons, four intended to prepare children to visit the museum, and 11 that tie into subjects like science, math, language, and art. Students who receive the lessons can easily identify items like the ore car or mining quadricycle in the museum s mock-up mine. Beatlebrox s lesson plans also aim to teach concepts like how to behave in a museum and the importance of obeying rules in society. The booklet tells the story of two Park City children in 1910 who got in trouble for sledding down Main Street and painting a red line on someone s car. When kids come to the museum, they see the jail in the basement and say, Wow, this is the jail where those kids might ve gotten put, Beatlebrox said. She likes to show students that 19th Century kids liked playing in the snow too. South Summit second-grade teacher Ellen Thompson said, The teachers are excited because it s a resource that s there. It s wonderful. The trunks fit into curriculum South Summit teachers have planned for November in discussing the pilgrims and how they created communities. Material in Beatlebrox s trunks shows how communities were created in Summit County, Thompson said, noting local, pictures are fantastic. While the trunks are intended to prepare students to visit the museum, they function as an ersatz museum if schools can t afford to send them on a field trip. Beatlebrox wants second-graders from North and South Summit to visit, but if they can t get the money to come, then they still get the learning, she said.
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