Abolition museum comes to classroom

As part of their history lesson on the abolition of slavery, Mena Dedmon's students had a museum come to them.

"Free at Last: A History of the Abolition of Slavery in America" is a traveling exhibition displayed in Dedmon's classroom at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School until May 31.

"Having the exhibit right in the classroom got the students more excited about the unit," said Dedmon. "Their whole environment has changed - now it's more than a regular room. By the end of the unit, I'll see the impact."

A series of panels of art, maps, photographs and letters traces the history of the movement to abolish slavery from the framing of the Constitution to the Emancipation Proclamation during the Civil War.

The students use the panels to arrange into centers where a topic on abolition is featured. Their lesson will culminate with the completion of portfolios of information on such subjects as slave narratives, abolition vs. preservation, acts of resistance, the Underground Railroad and "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

The national touring exhibit is created and funded by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. The institute promotes the study of American history in part by producing print and electronic publications and traveling exhibitions.

Dedmon became aware of the traveling exhibit during her studies on Frederick Douglass at the University of Nevada, Reno. Gilder Lehrman sent her a curriculum and other information on the subject. The exhibit panel came to her classroom May 1.

"Because we live in the West, slavery sometimes feels like a far away issue - not always something the kids feel is important to us directly," said Dedmon. "To visit a museum on slavery is not something we have a chance to do without a great deal of travel. Bringing the museum to them is so great."

To schedule a viewing of the exhibit, contact Mena Dedmon at 265-6100.


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