These are such exciting days at the International Museum of Cultures. Everything is abuzz with interns from TCU and OCU, as well as a graduate from Iowa State. We also have high school students earning their Community Service hours, a graduation requirement for certain High School students here in Texas.
What is exciting about having these young interns is that they will experience, first hand, the value that a museum brings to the education process. As is stated in The Foundation’s post on Why Museums are Important, “Museums provide a unique interactive experience of getting up close to things we usually only see in books, newspapers or on the television.” These interns will see how incredibly important it is for young people to see and touch artifacts from different cultures that they have only been able to read about.
Bring the Museum to the Student
The International Museum of Cultures is able to bring those artifacts right to the student anywhere in the Continental United States so that the student can have a personal experience with tools, clothes, and instruments from far away lands. The student is then better able to understand different cultures without pre-judgement when encountered by a person of an unfamiliar culture.
These artifacts are shipped to the educational facility with a complete curriculum that fits into any Project Based Learning initiative.
The shipped artifacts to the educational facility is called a Discovery Box.Discovery Boxes allow students to experience cultures around the world in a unique and interactive way. Discovery boxes come in 12 different themes and include a variety of genuine artifacts from the museum’s collection with a complete curriculum for the teacher. Students are be able to touch and examine the artifacts while completing activities and worksheets that encourage them to think critically about the world around them using Project Based Learning (PBL) methods.
a teacher’s guide with detailed object descriptions
curricula covering TEKS for K-12 science, social studies, English language arts, fine arts, and math
eye-opening activities that guide your students through understanding the objects
The Mountain-Plains Museum Association had a successful conference in Corpus Christi October 1st through the 5th. The International Museum of Cultures (IMC) had the opportunity to explore the purpose of Electronic Field Trips with the attendees during a conference session. This was an excellent opportunity to also present the decision process IMC followed in developing its Electronic Field Trip (IMC Rocks!) and related Project Based Learning transportable artifacts (Discovery Boxes).
The IMC recognized the increased role that museums are taking in education. An important reason for this increased role is because learning during a visit to a museum is from personal discovery and individual experience.
When a student personally discovers new information, further thought is stimulated creating new questions and the need for more answers. The process of learning through discovery stimulates critical thinking in our young people – a capability that is incredibly valuable for success in this technically connected world.
Individual experience occurs when a student is able to actually touch artifacts that are not part of their immediate environment or culture. There is a great movement in Project Based Learning (PBL) in the classroom because of the advantages of learning through personal experience. The IMC developed transportable artifacts (called Discovery Boxes) to provide this personal experience.
World Music Discovery Box
The IMC wanted to provide a means for students, which did not have travel budgets to visit the museum, to still learn about indigenous cultures from around the world. The IMC developed an Electronic Field Trip to accomplish this.
The eField Trip is accompanied with a complete curriculum. The Discover Boxes come with projects for learning. These tools become an excellent way to transport students into the museum without actually traveling to the museum.
The cuts in school budgets throughout the country have created an increased need for eField Trips and transportable artifacts, so, students can still have the benefits of museums.