Anne’s Explorers

Today, Anne led Rey, Dave and I down to the Arch to view the Maplewood Richmond Heights Elementary School’s exhibit that is now on display there, School as Museum. For those not familiar with the place, underneath the Arch is the Museum of Westward Expansion. In cooperation with the National Park Service, MRH Elementary has taken over one of the galleries there.

The Arch Grounds Under a Dusting of Snow

The Arch Grounds Under a Dusting of Snow

The overall purpose of this project is to give the students an opportunity to explore museum functions and practices. Students in grades 2nd through 6th worked with National Park Service staff to learn more about museum functions and practices. The following three questions were posed as guidelines for this exploration:

  • How does a museum collect and protect artifacts?
  • How are museum exhibits designed?
  • What does a museum curator do?

Through a series of visits to both the Arch and the Old Courthouse, students learned about the roles and functions of museum personnel and how they preserve, exhibit, collect, interpret and document museum artifacts. These experiences tied into the actual design and development of an exhibit by each grade on a topic of their choice.

This fall Anne worked with the fourth graders. They chose to study European exploration. In this unit the students learned about European exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries. They examined artifacts, read secondary sources about different explorers and analyzed the dominate motives for European exploration.

The display they choose to share is of the inside of an explorer’s ship. This portion of the overall exhibit is intended to be walked through, as though you are actually on a ship. Once aboard this vessel, you are introduced to five explorers; you can stop and admire their portraits or stop and listen as their bust comes alive to tell you their tale. Anne is seen below, posing before the 4th grade exhibit.

Anne In Front of the 4th Grade Exhibit

Anne In Front of the 4th Grade Exhibit

After the Arch, we walked over to Laclede’s Landing. Once, a warehouse district, it is situated along the Mississippi, just north of the Arch grounds. It is now a restaurant and entertainment district and we headed to one of the older establishments there, Hannegan’s. Named for Robert Hannegan, a Saint Louis politician, Hannegan’s interior decor is modeled after the US Senate’s dining room.

I don’t know what the connection between Hannegan’s the restaurant and Hannegan the politician is, except that there are some of Bob Hannegan’s artifacts on display in the restaurant. The most interesting one that I saw was a letter to Hannegan from FDR saying that he would be happy to run with Hannegan’s suggested running mate, Harry S Truman. Hannegan was the Democratic chairman in 1944. Then we sent Rey on his way back to Tennessee.

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