Museum Immersion Program Teaches Third Graders About Lowell History

Lowell Area Historical Museum is welcoming Lowell third graders to their yearly immersion program.

Each Lowell Area Schools third grade class gets a turn to explore the museum to learn about local history. Students get two days of hands-on activities and up-close looks at our city’s past.

Museum Executive Director Lisa Plank says the program enriches students by giving them vivid glimpses into the past and teaches them how a museum is run. Third-grade teachers choose from a series of activities that their students can do to enhance what is already going on in their classrooms.

One third-grade class at a time participates in the two-day program. The program is in its seventh year.

A group of Alto Elementary third graders participated last week and were treated to a time of free roaming throughout the museum, interactive lessons on Lowell’s history in the fur trading business, and a tour of historical Main Street. This group also was given access to tour the Lowell Showboat.

Students were talked through the process of how a fur-trading business transaction would be made as they acted out the transition complete with costumes and props. They were told how to identify good-quality furs and discern how to bargain a fair price for them. They then were allowed to decide what items they would exchange for their furs.

A lesson on fur business pioneer Madame Magdelaine LaFramboise and her many travels and business ventures accompanied the fur-trading lesson.

Handling delicate artifacts and how to label them accurately was also a part of the day. Retired local educators were on hand to teach the lessons.

On their first day, students were allowed to choose an artifact that interests them. Museum workers provided more information about the artifacts on the second day of the program in order to help students write a detailed report.

Alto Elementary third grade teacher Kelsey Schult says the museum complements lessons from her classroom.

“We study a lot of Michigan history in third grade, so it’s really cool for the kids to get to experience some of the history of Lowell. They get to walk down Main Street, too, and see all the things we talk about in social studies. They get to kind of experience it firsthand and see the evidence of their own past,” Schult says.

She said her students’ favorite things are learning how a museum works and getting to explore its exhibits and focus on what peaks their individual interests.

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