HIstory Center to implement visitor fees
On January 11, the History Center in St. Paul will begin charging visitors a fee. This decision follows significant reductions to the Society's state-funded operating budget, which has been reduced by $5 million per fiscal year since 2001. Since then, the Society has has reduced operating costs throughout its network.
The new admission fee structure will affect school groups, which represent 87,000 (nearly a third) of total visits to the History Center. However, school group fee changes will not go into effect until June 2005. At that time, school group fees will vary by visit package. Details include:
- Baseline package ($4 per student) will automatically include a Museum Activity. This fee is the same amount charged for many current school visits to the History Center.
- Teachers and chaperones will still be admitted for free.
two NEW HIstory players join cast
"Is that a wig?" For museum interpreter Mary Mannes, answering this question is just part of the job. So is wearing a bright green vintage suit with matching shoes (for her History Player role as author Maud Hart Lovelace). By dressing up and visiting classrooms, Mannes is doing her part to bring Minnesota history alive for students.
Next month, Mannes debuts her newest character: World War II pilot Virginia Mae Hope. Hope, a native of Winnebago, served as a WASP (Women's Airforce Service Pilot). Students are active participants in Mannes' lively lesson, delivering telegrams and portraying pilots. Using tales of flour-sack dresses and the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hope acts as a guide to the Great Depression and the World War II era.
Thomas Lyles, an African American entrepreneur living in St. Paul at the turn of the last century, is the second new History Player. The lively presentation highlights the post-Civil War era, when Minnesota had a small, but growing number of African Americans.
"What compels me about Lyles," says History Player Dwight Scott, "is his ability to contribute to the community by being who he was." Lyles, credited with convincing the mayor of St. Paul to hire the first black policeman in 1881, was a strong community activist. The owner of many businesses, Lyles enjoyed a literary society and helped found a local church.
The two new History Player scripts are geared toward grades 5-8, but can be adapted on request. To book a History Player in your classroom, contact Anna Anderhagen at 651-284-4177 or by email. Special requests are welcome; we'll do our best to meet your needs.
MILL CITY MUSEUM offers Scholarships
Mill City Museum, the latest addition to the Minnesota Historical Society's network, offers a wide range of educational opportunities for Minnesota's K-12 students. Thanks to the gracious support of the McKnight Foundation, these programs will now be available to even more students. The McKnight Endowment for Education provides free museum admission and subsidized busing for students from qualified schools.
To qualify, schools must be from the Twin Cities metro area and have at least 60 percent of students enrolled in the federal Free and Reduced Lunch program. Mill City Museum encourages schools that received endowment money last year to apply and always welcomes new participants to the program. Hurry! These museum visits must be made in January, February, or March. To find out more, contact our scheduling office at 612-341-7556 or by email.
YOU know history matters
That's why you're on our mailing list for the new History Matters newsletter. The Minnesota Historical Society is reaching out to history lovers throughout the state who want to take action to support the Society's good work. Since 2001, the Society's state funding has been cut dramatically, putting at risk our education programs.
We hope you'll enjoy the History Matters email newsletter and take action to support the Society. You are welcome to end your subscription at any time. Be on the lookout; you'll receive your first issue soon. To learn more, visit History Matters.
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Northern Lights Minnesota history Curriculum
There is an incredible amount of information in Northern Lights, and it is impossible to cover it in the quarter semester we are allowed. So what I have done is start the students with the first four chapters. We do this as a class. Then, working in pairs or alone, students choose two chapters that catch their interest.
Each group covers all parts of their chosen chapters, including the study guide, test, and investigation. To complete their grade, students also complete a visual project to share with the class. During the quarter, we have two sharing days. The presentations give all students exposure to chapters throughout the book.
--Gloria Collyard, sixth grade, Redlake, MN
Northern Lights is our comprehensive Minnesota history curriculum for grades 5 - 8.
American Presidency project
My fifth- and sixth-grade students are engaged in a unit entitled, "Politics, Presidents, and Elections." We recently held a mock student press conference with students portraying candidates. I have implemented a similar unit before, and it was highly successful!
To culminate the unit, each student researches and writes their own book about a president of their choice and the election process. Students take a mini-field trip to a local bookbinder and have their books bound. The binding costs $10 per book and is paid for through a grant. Then, we hold a Writer's Tea, where students read from their books. Parents, teachers, and local politicians are invited. Curriculum connections: history, social studies, political science, literature, art, computer science.
--Tricia Hamann, fifth and sixth grade, Perham, MN
Do you have a classroom idea you'd like to share with other educators? Please contact us with your idea. If your idea is chosen, we'll send you a free book from the Minnesota Historical Society Press.