The group made a stop at the Museum Center at Five Points, where teachers were introduced to “The River of Time” and “Appalachian Days” programs.
“I think this is a great idea because a lot of teachers don’t know what we offer,” education curator Jennifer White said.
White said the museum provides an educational experience outside of the classroom which helps students better remember the information. White said the museum also plans to send brochures to all local teachers outlining the programs available.
Lisa Simpson Lutts, executive director of the Museum Center at Five Points, gave the teachers a snapshot of the museum’s permanent exhibit, “The River of Time.” Lutts explained each section of the exhibit is handled by a different staff member. These staff members engage students in discussion about pieces in the exhibit.
During a brief look at “Appalachian Days,” teachers made butter by putting heavy cream in a Mason jar and shaking it until it clumped into butter.
Storyteller Judy Baker, who led the activity, said it also serves to get students thinking about where butter comes from today.
Discovering local history has become one local teacher’s summer project. Rachel Goan, an eighth-grade history teacher at Lake Forest Middle School, said she recently moved to the area and wanted to learn the local history to be able to share it with her students.
“[I’m] trying to find ways to relate history [as an academic subject] to local history,” she said.
She signed up for Wednesday’s tour after hearing about the historical society’s summer programs for teachers. Goan said the group also visited The Living Heritage Museum and took a driving tour of Charleston before stopping in Cleveland. The group of teachers later made a stop in Polk County to visit the Nancy Ward gravesite.
Lisa Oakley, curator of education for the East Tennessee Historical Society, said the “Museums and More: Learning Expeditions for Teachers” programs have two goals — to teach educators local history and to inform them about the resources available for making local history engaging for the students. The historical society provides a list of available programs and teachers sign up for the ones they want to attend. Oakley said the programs were popular this year and some have waiting lists of teachers eager to participate.
The teacher programs are made possible through a grant to the historical society from Humanities Tennessee.