Time capsule updated
Only In Santa Cruz

Tue, Feb 16, 2021

Oscar Paz

Oscar Paz - Education Coordinator

A Window in Time: Time Capsules with Local Teachers

Next month marks one year since Santa Cruz County Health Officer Gail Newel declared a shelter-in-place order, the museum closed, and students took to at-home learning. In this time our education program at the MAH had to rethink everything about how we support and engage local teachers and students.

As the MAH's Education Coordinator, my personal favorites to come out of this past year were hosting webinars in our first virtual exhibit, Queer Santa Cruz, launching free Downloadable History Lesson Plans, and our most recent collaboration building TIME CAPSULES with three Santa Cruz Elementary Schools.

MAH Time Capsule Exhibit Jan 2021 16 1

“The gear wheel represents the ever-changing "settings" that we had to navigate and is cast as a 3D Print to represent how we can still learn about Design Thinking and making” – Jesse Riley

This collaborative, #museumfromhome project came out of brainstorming how best to use our space and empower students to share their stories. It was also important to us to connect local schools to our new exhibition, In These Uncertain Times. And just like the artists in the exhibition, we wanted to highlight the creativity and compassion found within Santa Cruz County and create an opportunity for students to share their stories.

We soon identified three empty display windows in the first-floor lobby. Typically home to memorabilia from our Santa Cruz County Archives and current exhibitions, we knew the well-lit window boxes would be the perfect home for the students' mini-exhibits. We then invited Santa Cruz Gardens Elementary, Bay View Elementary, and Spring Hill School to join us in this experimental program we aptly titled a Window in Time. From those schools, we worked closely with 4th-5th grade teachers Carlo Albano, Barbara Novelli, Jerry Valles, Stu Branoff, and Jesse Riley.

MAH Time Capsule Exhibit Feb 2021 8

Students participated by contributing personal artifacts of their choice that they felt captured their shelter in place story. Teachers then worked with them to reflect on this past year, document stories, and name their displays.

We were overjoyed by the level of care each student gave to selecting their objects. It was heartwarming to be able to offer a creative outlet for students and see them reflect on the wide array of emotions this year has brought on. Reflecting on the past can be difficult for anyone, especially when looking back at all the things we missed out on and the people we have lost during this time period. The project exceeded our expectations and despite a lot of hesitations around distance learning, we were still able to collaborate with local schools and empower students. We also hope that through this project we succeeded in reminding teachers and students of the power of storytelling, and how it can influence our abilities to get through uncertain and difficult times.

If you're interested in bringing time capsules to your classroom or homeschooling network, we've adapted this program into our In These Uncertain Times Virtual Field Trips. And as always, The MAH is here to help bring local art and history to your students. Please feel free to contact me at oscar@santacruzmah.org so we can connect.

A Window in Time

We look forward to the day you can see the displays in person once the museum is able to reopen.

“Bobcat Strong during Challenging Times”

by Barbara Novelli’s, 4th/5th-grade class, Jerry Valles’s, 5th-grade class, & Stu Branoff’s, 5th-grade class. Bay View Elementary.

“One Day at a Time”

by Carlo Albano’s Santa Cruz Gardens Elementary 4th & 5th-grade class

“2020 A Learning Odyssey with no End”

by Jesse Riley’s, 4th, 5th, & 6th-grade class. Spring Hill School.

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