Downtown Students Create Traveling Museum


Elementary kids who could be playing computer games or browsing through books were bent over handmade history exhibits at the Central Library in Downtown Des Moines.

“It’s cool!” one said.

“Look at this!” said another, pointing at an interactive map which allowed them to transport corn and tractor parts down the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.

Molly Sweeney and Amanda Clark’s nine and 10-year-old students at Downtown School have created what they call a “mobile museum.”  And it’s not just for city kids.

Downtown students were thinking about rural kids when they created their mobile museum, “Museum of Iowa: A blast from the past and presenting the present.”

“We know not every student in Iowa has the opportunity to visit the State Historical Building like the students living in the Des Moines metro area,” Clark said.

Here’s what Polk County Farm Bureau wrote about the museum in a recent newsletter:

This February and March, we were excited to work with Mrs. Sweeney and Ms. Clark’s learning group at Downtown School in Des Moines on their Study of Iowa. The students researched various aspects of Iowa history as part of a culminating project where the class developed a mock traveling museum to teach students across the state about Iowa.

Cindy Hall, AITC program director, visited their classroom in mid-February to discuss the important role that agriculture has always played in Iowa. The students looked at historical photographs, learned about the technology used on farms throughout the years, and explored the lives of famous Iowans in agriculture.

On April 3rd, the Ag in the Classroom Staff was excited to be invited to the grand-opening of their museum. The students developed many interactive exhibits that told the story of agriculture through history. Museum visitors could test their knowledge of soils, transport commodities up and down the Mississippi River, and see artifacts of famous Iowans such as George Washington Carver, Henry Wallace, and Norman Borlaug.
Hats off to Mrs. Sweeney’s and Mrs. Clark’s class for including agriculture in their study of Iowa!

Photos of Museum

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

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