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Museum Makers: Bringing History to Life

Students work as Museum Makers to build a living bridge to history after a visit to a museum.

Museum interior

How many times have you taken your students on a field trip and wished there was something more you could do to bring the experience to life?

The Museum of Military History in Kissimmee, Florida educates students about military history and events ranging from World War I to the current actions in the Middle East. When the museum recently moved to a new building, they wanted to find a better way to reach teachers and students in Osceola County and help them learn about our country’s military past. Thus began my journey with the Museum Makers project.

The first phase of this project consisted of a workshop for teachers. The workshop begins with a personal tour of the museum. Each group of teachers was guided by a veteran who shared his stories, connecting us to the photos, models, and artifacts in each display.

Jeep image from the Museum of Military History, Kissimmee, Florida

After touring the museum, we returned to a classroom setting and began working together to select a specific military period in history to explore in depth. We searched online and used Discovery Education Streaming to find and watch video clips that showed actual footage from this period in history.

We collected videos and other media and developed multimedia projects to enhance the museum exhibit depicting this military event. Some groups created animations using Frames, and others designed interactive web pages in Share, to describe and explain events that occurred in World War II, the Korean War, and Operation Desert Shield.

We published our projects online and created QR codes to provide additional information to teachers and students visiting the exhibits. Now anyone with a smart phone or other Internet-enabled device can access our multimedia presentations to enrich their visit to the museum or explore additional information when they returned to their school.

The goal of this project is both to enrich the experience at the museum and to serve as a model for the teachers who attended the workshop to bring this concept back to their schools create their own interactive museums with their students.

My students are working as Museum Makers this year, creating clay animation videos to illustrate a military event of their choice. We will publish their final animations online as a multimedia resource that can be viewed in our classroom, at home by friends and family, and as an enrichment resource at the museum. Publishing for a purpose beyond my classroom motivates my students and results in high-quality work.

My next goal is to build a living bridge to history. Once the students have learned about a military action in our country’s history, they will have the opportunity to interview a veteran from that time. We will use green-screen techniques to combine interviews with student-created illustrations to virtually connect the stories to historic events.

I am proud that my students will be playing a part in preserving the oral histories of our veterans and making them available for future generations.

Debbie Bohanan

by Debbie Bohanan

Debbie Bohanan is the Digital Media Teacher at Axis Middle School at Zenith in Kissimmee, Florida.

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