Educational Impact: Jacob A. Riis

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Educational components help deepen audience engagement for Keweenaw National Historical Park

Did you know that NEH on the Road employs a full-time educator, and her only job is to help you, our exhibiting venues? Stephanie Seber is the educator for all traveling exhibitions put together by Mid-America Arts Alliance, our parent organization, and for each exhibition, she prepares a carefully researched Programming Guide that is full of detailed information, interactive ideas, and more. In addition to the Programming Guide, all exhibitions have Education Outreach Kits and other supplementary materials that help our venues provide outreach specifically to students.

In fall 2019, Keweenaw National Historical Park in Michigan hosted Jacob A. Riis: How the Other Half Lives. Katie Keller, Education Technician, worked closely with Seber to develop custom materials used by Keweenaw throughout the exhibition’s run.

Said Keller, working with Education Outreach “was a really great experience because it helped us create and strengthen existing partnerships, increased our field trip visitation, new curriculum that focuses on Riis and Keweenaw NHP was created (national park making national connections), and lastly, we explored 21st century learning as an education community.”

Here are some of the education activities that Keweenaw engaged in:

  • Five educators from elementary, middle, and high school applied and were selected to create curriculum to be used in conjunction with a fall field trip visit to the exhibition. They were compensated for their efforts.
  • Hosting three educator workshops: “It allowed educators an opportunity to explore historical and present-day immigration topics under the guise of Audience Centered Experiences – a 21st century approach to education and interpretation in the National Park Service. Our goal was for educators to make connections between Riis’s New York and the Keweenaw Peninsula at that time, while simultaneously thinking about what implications this history has on our present-day understanding of immigration in the United States.”
  • Bringing Bonnie Yochelson, exhibition curator, to present at one educator workshop.
  • Use of the Education Outreach Kit. “We partnered with a local educational group, the Copper Country Intermediate School District, to make these available for check-out for educators. They have an existing ‘traveling trunk’ system in place, so it made sense to collaborate. Educators thought that this traveling bag outreach kit was really fun and adaptable for different standards and ages.”
  • Creation of three companion media pieces for the exhibition (example in photo above).

Overall, Keller reports that the education components helped them host a successful exhibition. “In the time that we hosted the exhibition, we saw 32 groups for a total of 993 from K-College. The exhibition made such a splash in the community along with our other educator activities… 993 is a great number!”

For more information on exhibitions or their educational materials, please contact us: MoreArt (at) maaa.org or callĀ 816-800-0925.