CSU, Chico News

Museum Receives Statewide Education Award

Date: 02-17-2016

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
Adrienne Scott, education curator
Museum of Anthropology

California State University, Chico’s Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology has been selected for a 2016 Superintendent's Award for Excellence in Museum Education for its museum-in-the-classroom program at Hooker Oak Elementary School. The museum is among six statewide to be recognized.

The museum-in-the-classroom program challenges sixth graders in Chico to design an all-school museum exhibition based on their history and social studies. Once the exhibition is installed, the students become docents to lower grades, gaining competence in all of the class’s research, not just their own. Developed by the museum’s education curator, Adrienne Scott, and Hooker Oak teacher Denise Findlay, the program exposes students to decisions curators make and helps them understand history as an interpretive act.

The Superintendent’s Awards for Excellence in Museum Education recognize outstanding achievements in California museum programs that serve K-12 students or educators. It is sponsored by the California Association of Museums and the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Programs are selected for their design, evidence of excellence, planning and evaluation and innovation. Past recipients include the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Crocker Museum of Art in Sacramento and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Teaching young students the importance of context when learning about the past is a guiding tenet of the museum-school partnership, Scott said.

“Just as an artifact sitting on a shelf removed from its historical context offers no story to be told, so too the learning of myriad facts is meaningless,” she said. “Museum-in-the-Classroom successfully unites the museum and classroom models of learning.”

Scott will accept the award at the 2016 CAM annual luncheon on Thursday, March 3, at the Riverside Convention Center, in conjunction with the 2016 CAM conference.

The Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology is part of the Department of Anthropology in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. It is located in the Meriam Library complex on the CSU, Chico campus in room MLIB 180.