While there’s no museum docent to personally welcome visitors to this year’s Hamden Hall Living History Museum, the introductory message on the exhibition’s Youtube page states that the virtual presentation is “where notable Revolutionary War heroes/heroines come to life.”
And come to life they did – students dressed in period costume representing real-life notable figures such as Paul Revere, Abigail Adams, Thomas Paine, and the Marquis de Lafayette. Some students even took advantage of landmarks in their communities as backdrops for their individual videos, i.e., cannons on the town green!
Students had to write their own monologue and then film themselves for the project, which is usually a morning-long live exhibit in the school’s Lender Refectory with family and friends.
Grade 5 teacher Emily Schimelman noted that the annual Living History Museum is a “vital part” of the fifth-grade social studies curriculum and that it “would have been a shame” if this year's class wasn’t able to participate in such an important and memorable event.
“It is personally one of my favorite fifth-grade events. This year we added a new art component, so even though this year’s museum is virtual, the new museum display case project is here to stay,” she maintained.
In addition to the monologue and a five-paragraph essay, students were assigned the creation of a museum display case. Each display case had to contain four items, one of which had to be 3D. Each item represents the life of the hero or heroine, such as a lantern and horse for Paul Revere.
“Throughout fifth grade we talk about the importance of primary source artifacts; hence, the idea of making a museum for each historical figure,” said Mrs. Schimelman who credited Lower School art teacher Susan Bennett for support with the display case component.
Lower School Director Lorri Carroll noted that a recent virtual assembly with accomplished storyteller Anne Pasquale was a great kick off to the Living History project.
“This project is valuable on so many levels for students to hone their research skills, write a monologue and perform, as well. We didn't want them to miss the opportunity because we were not on campus,” said Mrs. Carroll.
Students will actually present their monologues live via Zoom in small breakout groups for parents. The videotaped presentations hosted on a private Youtube channel will allow the rest of the Hamden Hall community to view – and learn!
“These students have worked so hard to prepare for this event, and so these videos allow their friends and fellow teachers to experience this historical performance,” said Mrs. Schimelman.
to view via Youtube each Living History Museum presentation.