Friday, July 6, 2012

Teachers Go Back to School at the Tenement

Recently, we welcomed a group of local teachers to  “Becoming American: Using Food Culture to Teach Immigration,” A professional development workshop helping teachers introduce the theme of immigration into the classroom. Organized in conjunction with the New York Public Library, “Becoming American” focused on immigration and food—one of our favorite themes! Teachers got a sneak peek at the NYPL’s new “Lunch Hour NYC” exhibit in the morning, then made their way to Orchard Street for our “Foods of the Lower East Side” walking tour.

An image from the "Lunch Hour NYC" exhibit

Director of Education Miriam Bader explains that these programs are part of an effort to create relationships between the Museum and teachers that bring their students to visit. “Our goal is really two-fold; it’s both to support teachers on a personal level so they can learn more about this period of history, but it’s also for them to get tips, techniques, strategies, and content that they can then bring back to their students.”

Teachers participate in tours and programs that their students would participate in if they were to visit the Museum, also receiving a wide range of resources, from pictures to census records, which “help create the setting of what life was like in the Lower East Side neighborhood 100 years ago,” said Miriam.

Workshop participants at Economy Candy--a stop on our "Foods of the Lower East Side" tour

The Tenement Museum’s partnership with the New York Public Library  is “a perfect marriage” according to Miriam. The Library has an impressive online collection accessible to teachers from their homes, and the Tenement Museum has 97 Orchard Street, an exhibit space that brings our collections to life and puts history in context. In the past, the Tenement Museum has also teamed up with the Museum at Eldridge Street, the National Parks Service, and Facing History for Professional Development Workshops covering a wide range of topics including discrimination, cultural adaptation, and immigrant culture as a whole. 

On August 7th and 8th, the Museum is planning a special two-day Professional Development Workshop titled “The Democracy Walk,” which will focus on the idea of citizenship, from its origins in the birth of the United States to how it changed as the nation grew. Participants will visit Federal Hall and the African Burial Ground, followed by a stop at the Tenement Museum, where the group will consider how the meaning of immigration and citizenship has evolved since the 17th century. However, the Museum knows how difficult it is for teachers to sacrifice two glorious summer days (we like our vacation, too!). So this particular workshop comes with a $100 stipend. For more information on “The Democracy Walk” workshop, or other programs offered by the Education department, check out their page on our website!  You can sign up to receive emails about future workshops on the same page.  For more information, you can also email our Group Services Manager Harrison Rivers

-- Posted by Ana Colon

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