Museum of Family History

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Geography and Map Reading Room, Library of Congress

  Education and Research Center
  Educational Activities

The Museum endeavors to provide tools--such as "thinking exercises"--for those interested in learning more about Jewish history. This is also a great way to interest others in one's  family to do the same (whether it be parents, grandparents or children). It is a great way for parents and grandparents to sit down with their children or grandchildren and have a wonderful shared experience, while helping to stimulate one's mind with regard to Jewish history and culture.  Educational material that will enable the Museum visitor to learn, not only about methodology and resources concerning genealogical research, but about the history of the Jewish people as well.

The Museum thus makes available to you the beginning of its Education Department that has something for children and adult alike. The Museum seeks educators to present curriculum of a nature that would be suitable to young children and adults, material that could be presented online, that would both educate and inspire others to learn more about the history of the Jewish family. This educational material might, for instance, include the telling of stories of family life during one's youth, or might include a lesson in the technique of oral history, i.e. the interviewing of older family members about their life experiences.

The Education & Research Center will also provide the names and bibliographic information for various books and other printed material that might be of use or interest.

Be sure to visit the Museum's Records page to see some of the records that are available at various archives and research centers, especially those located in New York City.

Below are listed a number of exercises that can found found within the Education Department of the Museum of Family History:

  Thinking Exercises
Meant for kids and their families, this educational resource gives families numerous opportunities to learn as they look together at one or more of the Museum's photographs and think about what they see.

These exercises allow children to employ their imagination, to place themselves in various situations in which their ancestors found themselves many years ago. They may get to play the role of one or more people in a particular photograph and both ask and answer the questions that are posed to them. Of course, you or your children may wish to make up your own questions. There are no answers supplied to the questions posed by the Museum, as there are no right answers or wrong answers.

In these thinking exercises, one has the opportunity to do some creative thinking. Hopefully, the participant(s) in this exercise might find some relevance in their own life as they do these exercises. They may be important in understanding more about the history of their own family and of history in general. ►►

  Through the Eye of the Needle: Fabric of Survival
Sisters Bernice and Helene grew up with the stories of their mother Esther's courage and suffering as a child during the Second World War. Years later, after their mother began to turn her stories into a narrated series of fabric art pictures, they realized that art and story combined had enormous power. They believe that together, art and story could help people understand not only what war and intolerance are, but also how it feels to those who endure them.

The primary goal of  their Art and Remembrance's educational programs is to open the minds of school-age children to the powerful experiences of victims of social injustice, as narrated through art. Through guided study on the works of A&R artists, students will be encouraged to reflect upon and gain a greater understanding of important issues such as cultural diversity, prejudice, the Holocaust, and other historical and contemporary manifestations of racism. Through the study of narrative art, A&R also hopes to empower children to share their own stories, and to learn about various techniques that will enable them to do so through art.  ►►

  Kiddish Yiddish: Jewish Traditions & Culture in Rhyme
From Bagel to Shalom, this children's glossary of Jewish words in rhyme follows three generations of a family through a year of holidays, rituals and traditions. Poems and illustrations tell stories in the loving way grandparents share memories with their offspring, while encouraging further discussion about the rich contribution of Hebrew and Yiddish to our language and society. Ideal for parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians that take pleasure in reading with children and exploring the ABCs of Jewish culture in an evocative, fun-filled way. ►►

  banner photo: The Geography and Map Reading Room, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.


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