Wellin Museum helps area educators with Common Core transition

By Gary Liberatore

(WKTV) - The Wellin Museum on the campus of Hamilton College has been open for only about 18 months, but it is already making a big impact with some area school districts.

On Friday, 120 seventh graders from Clinton Middle School went on an interactive tour of the new museum.

Clinton Middle School English teacher Sarah Gaetano said the trip culminated a grade-wide reading of the book "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas."

Gaetano said she had spoken with those in charge of educational programming at the museum last fall, and Friday was the day the gist of that initial conversation came to fruition.

Megan Austin, manager of Educational Programming and Outreach at the Wellin Museum says she and others from the museum thought it was a good idea to have a conversation with local educators to get their input on how the museum can be of help to them.

"In this case they were focusing on the Civil War, and said 'So what do you have in your permanent collection that you can pull that will engage the students and discuss the Civil War?' "

Austin says the museum has been set up recently with Civil War-related artwork, including that of artist Thomas Nast and his work on abolition and slavery.

"And we're doing what we call Visual Thinking Strategies, or VTS," Austin said. "So you're looking and you're asking questions. What do you see that makes you say that? So you're sort of making connections between what you already know and what you're learning at the same time."

The kids listened to a video, took a tour of the museum and had the task of a scavenger hunt to learn about many of the pieces of artwork.

Austin says she understands the Common Core standards have been an issue, and museum officials wanted to do what they could to help area educators make the transition.

"To sort of take some of the burden off off of some of the local teachers in terms of how that whole thing was rolled out, how we can say, we'll step in and we'll help you and offer our resources."

If you would like information regarding the programs at the Wellin Museum, just give the folks there a call at 315-859-4396

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