Student voice provides muse for the American story

Katlyn Bare and her students make a Tik Tok on one of the interactive exhibits in the English 11 American Story Museum

Tuesday, February 8th, 2022, Andrea Nichols’ eleventh-grade students unveiled an museum exhibit titled “The American Story Museum.”

“The American Story Museum was a museum that we created so that we could identify what we thought America meant, and we portrayed that in a project [from] each classmate and then projected so that the school could see,” Ian Stewart said.

The exhibit contained approximately 40 stories with interactive booths and artifacts that took about 2 months to set up. Each artifact helped immerse the students in the story of America.

“We used quite literally anything we could get our hands on to represent what we wanted to communicate through our individual artifacts. I personally used a combination of plaster and real artifacts from my great grandfather who fought in World War II because my American voice was veterans. And so everyone used something individual and unique,” Cass Smith said.

Nathan Hering’s exhibit displayed an original Xbox and students played a Star Wars game using the original controllers.

“He had it representing the millennial generation and how they were the first of the technology boom and definitely people did like playing video games. I’m not surprised by that,” said Smith.

The stories within the museum opened up discussion about the different schools of thought in America over the decades. They showed the struggle of the American people and the movements to overcome those issues.

“The goal was to teach students that everybody has a different view of America. Everyone has different dreams, and there are some things that we need to fix and some things that are completely fine, but there is still room for improvement,” Taylor Mills said.

The museum was open for one day and guests from the junior high,  the high school, and even faculty members attended. The museum was an activity that provided education on ideas such as the American dream and American ideals.

“I think that students should be able to take away a more constructive thought of how our nation is put together and what voices have contributed because it’s much more than just our founding fathers. It is much more than just people who fought for our country. Its people who were here before us. People who will be here after us. It’s an encouragement to think about these kinds of things and really dive into that subject,” Smith said.