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Gallery + Classroom Program: Engaging with Artifacts

Dates Available: All school year

Grade Level: This program is available for K–5th grades only.

Minimum Number of Students: 25 students

Maximum Number of Students: 70 students

Galleries Visited:   Seeking St. Louis: Currents & Seeking St. Louis: Reflections

Program Duration: 2 hours

Introduce students to the multiple skills they can use to uncover the secrets of Missouri and St. Louis history! Museum learning that's rooted in inquiry, storytelling, compare and contrast, and sensory will help students learn about artifacts and connect these strategies back to their classroom.

More about this Gallery + Classroom Program
How do you learn in a museum? How do you interact with artifacts? How do you relate to history? Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start in a large museum with so much stuff! If you want your students to be savvy museum visitors and artifact experts, then sign up for Engaging with Artifacts. We’ll introduce your students to various strategies they can use to understand the gallery spaces and objects they encounter. All of these strategies are rooted in higher-level critical thinking skills and will help reinforce the skills needed in the classroom learning environment.

In the Galleries
Students will visit three areas in the Currents and Reflections galleries. At each stop, they'll encounter a different part of St. Louis’s and Missouri’s past, all while practicing a different skill to help them engage with the artifacts and discover the main ideas of the displays:

  • At Stop 1, students will engage in an inquiry-based group discussion. Like a real historian, they'll use their power of observation, their reasoning skills, their prior experience, and the ideas of their peers to draw their own conclusion about historic artifacts. This activity will take place in the Disasters section, which tells the stories of St. Louis’s struggle with and triumph over natural disasters and public needs. 
  • At Stop 2, students will use details they find in historic portraits, as well as their imaginations, to tell stories about people from Missouri’s past. This activity will take place in the Portraits section, which includes photographs and paintings of diverse Missourians from the 1800s to 1930s.
  • At Stop 3, students will connect with artifacts by comparing and contrasting them with objects they use today. This activity will take place in the Urban/Suburban Life section, which recreates the built environments of the city of St. Louis and its surrounding counties during the 1950s.

*Please note that the above stops may not occur in chronological order. Also, portions of each stop may be cut out if your group arrives late.

In the Classroom
Students will interact with history through their senses. Using objects from our teaching collection, this classroom activity is a great and rare opportunity for students to smell, hear, and touch history! Students will get a sensory experience of four historic places in St. Louis that no longer exist so they can compare that with their own sensory experience of St. Louis and Missouri today.

*Please note that portions of the activity may be cut out if your group arrives late. Also, if your group is larger, half of the group will do the classroom first, and the other half will do the classroom last.

 Please read our K-12 Policies before booking this program.

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Critical Thinking
Regardless of which field trip experience you choose, all of our programs are designed to emphasize the critical thinking skills students use in museums, the classroom, and as lifelong learners. These big goals drive our program creation, our staff training, and our program evaluation for a holistic and outcome-driven approach.

For all K–12 programs we strive to create and facilitate experiences in which learners will individually and collaboratively use Museum spaces, objects, and content to:

  • compare and contrast the past and present
  • make connections between the people, places, and stories of history and their personal experience
  • comprehend and evaluate multiple perspectives and past choices
  • express and support their own perspectives on history

Here are some Pre-Visit Activities and other resources.

Program Modifications
We understand that there are many factors that may cause your bus to be late. However, due to other group reservations and the schedules of our Museum Educators, we can't extend the length of your visit past your reservation time. If you arrive late, we'll do our best to still deliver the program you reserved; however, modifications may be necessary depending on your arrival time. For groups that are excessively late, significant changes to your program will be necessary.

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