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Hamden Hall Country Day School
Educating students in PreSchool through Grade 12

Agents of Change: Grade 5 Students Curate Living Museum

Learning and studying history went beyond the classroom as fifth-grade students took on the personas of different historical figures who were known as agents of change in the Changemakers Living Museum presentation for parents and guests in the Lender Refectory.

With Lower School music teacher Rachael Jungkeit on the piano, the students dressed in all-black attire with custom curator t-shirts began their presentation with a song full of descriptors referencing the historical figures featured in the museum. The audience had a chance to meet Milton Bradley, Duke Ellington, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Katherine Johnson, and Carl Sagan to name a few. 

The audience was able to meander through each exhibit and talk to historical figures who may have been unfamiliar to them and learn something new. Students reeled off facts and details about their chosen changemakers.

“The Living Museum presentation brings history to life, and the dedication of the students really drove the process and its success,” said theater teacher and performance coach Lisa Daly. “The students really became experts on their chosen figure, and we all learned something new about these incredible changemakers.”

To prepare for the presentation, each student selected a historical figure that was both an inspiration to them and had made a lasting and positive contribution to his or her field. Head Media Specialist Stacey Schwartz helped the students choose books and resources as part of the project research. The students used the information to write a research paper and craft a monologue detailing the life and importance of their chosen figure. The exhibits also featured different artifacts related to each changemaker.

Aside from the presentation, the students also curated an art show inspired by the late artist Andy Warhol - who was noted during the event as also being a changemaker in his time. With the aid of Lower School art teacher Sue Bennett 1973, the students learned about the pop art movement and its influence throughout history. The students were tasked with taking a contemporary item of their choice and creating a painting based on the style of realism.

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