Friday, October 14, 2016

Beyond the Walls: Baldwyn Elementary School

On September 6th, Ms. Emily Hargrove and Mr. Steven Mockler, this year's Museum VISTA, visited the fourth graders at Baldwyn Elementary to do our Theora Hamblett Traveling Trunk. Normally, our presenters demonstrate the project to one class and then teachers return it once every other class has had the opportunity to complete the activity. This time, however, the teachers at BES requested to do the project with all the students at once. Waiting in the gym for the students to arrive, Ms. Emily and Mr. Steven were nervous about how the session would go.

The students shuffled in quietly and took their spots at the prepared tables and listened attentively to Mr. Steven's presentation on Theora's life and work. Once the project began, the students lit up and babbled with neighbors and teachers about their own recreations of Theora's trees. Ms. Emily and Mr. Steven had an excellent time learning about the students and seeing the unique artwork they created.

On the way home, they talked about how impressed they were with BES and the students' dedication to their work. When BES returned the trunk, they were impressed again when they opened the trunk and found 53 handwritten thank-you notes! 

Both presenters were moved by what the students wrote and were struck by how often students wrote that they do not normally get to participate in this kind of activity. The Museum is proud to provide these classroom enriching experiences to the local community and hope to continue to build partnerships with other schools.

Five Fast Facts about Traveling Trunks and Art Education:

1. In 2015, we served over 11,000 students on and off site.
2. So far, in 2016, we've reached over 3,000 students off site.
3. In September alone, seven schools checked out trunks from Oxford, Baldwyn, Water Valley, Tupelo, and New Albany to reach 455 students.
4. Students exposed to regular arts programming are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement. 
5. Arts programing has been proven to decrease delinquent and truant behavior and increase academic performance among at-risk youths.

Below are selection of some of the notes that jumped out at us. We had a great time and look forward to working with BES in the future!
"Dear Mr. Stephen an Miss Emily,
Thank you for bringing the Traveling Trunk. Someday I am going to come to the museum and look at some of Theora Hamblett's paintings, though I've never been before. Thank you for letting us paint pictures, too. I loved it! It was so fun!
Sincerely, Anden"

"Dear U of M,
My name is Dy'lan. I want to thank you for coming to our school, and bring[ing] Theora Hamblett's paintings to our school. Thank you for being polite and not saying this stinks. We don't get to do this a lot. This was a great artwork, and I hope we can do this again some time. We all enjoy painting at school.
Sincerely, Dy'lan"

"Dear U of M, 
Thank you U of M for coming to BES. We really enjoyed you being here at BES. you were very helpful to us. We thank you for bringing the Traveling Trunk of Theora Hamblett from U of M. We usually don't get tot experience here at BES. Thank you for being polite and helpful. You are good representatives for the U of M. Thank you for walking us through all the steps. We usually don't do things like this at school. We are [thankful] that you let us paint and told us many facts about Theora Hamblett's artwork. Thank you for coming U of M. 
Sincerely, Gauge"

"Dear Mr. Stepen and Miss Emily, 
Thank you for bringing the Traveling Trunk. I would want to do that one day. We lear[n]ed a lot about Theodora Hamblett. I won't forget what you said, "I[f] you don['t] tell anyone you messed up they won't know." The artwork you showed us was incredible. That was very helpful. Thank you. Come back again! 
Sincerly, Johanna"
"Dear UM Museum
We thank you for coming to our school, and doing the painting activity. It was great. I had a great time doing the activity. Thanks for doing it for free, too. Thanks for showing us pictures of Theora Hamblett also. Thanks for providing everything for us. This was great experience that I will never forget.
Sincerely, Jack"

Dear U of M, 
My name is Zariah. I want to thank you for taking your time to let me paint from Theora Hamblett traveling trucbs. I am not used to doing things like this. At first I was like, "I can't do this", but you helped me and said, "This is pretty. Don't listen to no one else." I had a wonderful time with you and I'm sure you had a fun time with me too. Ms. Emily, I liked that shirt you had on Tuesday. Mrs. Steaven, I liked that blue shirt. It's a good color for you. I had a great time. I'm hopeing I can do it with you again. I hope you can come back soon. 
Sincerely, Zariah

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