Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

A grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, awarded in June to the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology as part of a K-12 Civics Initiative Major Grant, will be used for outreach programs for local schools. The museum was one of eight groups to win the grant.

The Haffenreffer, located in Manning Hall, is a recent addition to the Main Green. After the fire marshal deemed the museum's home in Bristol, R.I., to be unsafe for public use in 2008, the Haffenreffer moved its exhibitions into Manning Hall, leaving its office space and collections behind. The Bristol location has since been converted into a storage facility for the artifacts, which number over 100,000 in total.

Although there are plans to get the Haffenreffer a larger location someday, the museum will not be moving in the near future, said Steven Lubar, professor of American civilization and recently appointed director of the Haffenreffer.

The move to campus has made the museum much more accessible to the University. It offers a free student membership, which includes access to over 200 other museums across the country. Lubar said one of his goals as director is to spread the word about the Haffenreffer and to encourage "faculty and students to think of it as a resource just like the library," adding that he wants to make it "a museum focused on education."

The many collections that are not on display are available for classes to view in Bristol by appointment. There will also be an online list of the artifacts in the collections coming soon.

Though the move has brought the museum closer to campus, it has made it more difficult for local schools to see the exhibitions. The grant from the R.I. Council for Humanities is being used to address this issue.  

The $8,980 grant is going toward the Haffenreffer's Culture CaraVan program, which sends a van to schools all over Rhode Island with replicas and other materials covering any one of eight different topics. The program was around long before the move, but is becoming much more popular since the building in Bristol closed, said Geralyn Hoffman, curator of programs and education at the Haffenreffer. CaraVan is also opening up the museum to schools that may not have been able to go to the previous location due to distance and the cost of buses, she said.

The van goes to classrooms from kindergarten through 12th grade, and sometimes visits senior centers. It provides a chance for classes to "have an expert talk about the world beyond the school," Lubar said.

CaraVan "gives the kids a hands-on experiential opportunity to learn about a culture beyond what's in the textbook," Hoffman said. She added that the program brings together the aural, visual and tactile senses for all types of learners.

The van visits with a classroom only once, so many of the individual topics have online counterparts that provide lesson plans and other tools for teachers. "Online lesson plans go beyond what we are able to do in two hours," Hoffman said. Part of the grant is going toward the creation of an online companion for a particular topic, "Sankofa: African Americans in Rhode Island."

"Sankofa" — a West African term meaning "going back to the past in order to move forward," according to a CaraVan brochure — teaches about slavery, beginning with the slave trade that brought West Africans to Rhode Island and ending with inequalities in today's society.

The grant will also allow 10 schools to send two teachers each to the Haffenreffer for a workshop that teaches them how to use the new Internet resources. The museum sent out fliers to principals throughout the state inviting them to apply for the workshop, which Hoffman said she hopes will be in January or February. So far five schools have been selected to participate, she said.

A third part of the grant is going toward scholarships that allow the teachers who participate in the workshop to use the CaraVan program for free, instead of the usual fee of six dollars per student.



Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Brown Daily Herald, Inc.