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Palmer Lake Elementary School hosts monthly cultural museums

Palmer Lake Elementary School hosts monthly cultural museums

A brainstorming session to think of Fun Friday ideas that combined fun, learning and new experiences led Palmer Lake Elementary School’s English Language (EL) instructor, Ashley Mathews, to the idea of hosting a monthly cultural museum. Originally created for just one class where she is a co-teacher, Mathews said the museums have since expanded to include the whole school. 

April’s museum was a mostly book-based exhibit on women’s history, but other museums this school year have been more artifact-based. The school has also hosted museums on Native American, African, Asian, and Hispanic heritage. The school uses resources from the Northwest Suburban Integration School District’s multicultural resource center for their museums, but Mathews said many staff members have also contributed artifacts from around the world. Museum creators Mathews and Patty Scofield, another EL teacher, said the students especially connected with these staff-lent items, such as a teacher’s old kimono from when he was young during the Asian Heritage Month museum.

On April 6, teachers from around the school could sign up for a time to have their students view the women’s history museum. Either Mathews or Scofield would come to each participating classroom, explain the project and the assignment scholars needed to complete using the museum’s information. From there, the students were free to explore and learn about female leaders throughout history. Since the school did a lot of education on Women’s History Month in March, Scofield said students were able to make good connections at the museum where they recalled different people and events from previous lessons.