Denise Scammon, Museum L-A’s program coordinator, fills one of two trunks in preparation of the launch of the museum’s Child Labor Travel Trunk program, available to elementary educators beginning May 1. Museum L-A photo

LEWISTON — Following a survey that was sent to nearly 1,000 educators, Museum L-A has updated its educational Travel Trunk program with a focus on child labor for students in grades 3 through 6.

Because of a grant from Lewiston Auburn Children’s Foundation, educators will be able to reserve the travel trunk for two-week periods beginning Saturday, May 1, at no cost. The foundation annually awards grants to organizations whose programs directly benefit children in the community.

The Museum L-A’s travel trunk includes lesson plans, primary source weaving objects, activities, games, books, and child laborer costumes. Museum L-A photo

The travel trunk includes lesson plans, primary source weaving objects, activities, games, books, and child laborer costumes. The curriculum guide provides learning objectives from the Maine Department of Education. For example, the Journal Writing guide includes activities that meet history and social studies learning results requirements.

The step-by-step lesson plans are designed to engage students with activities centered on reading, creating a timeline, understanding immigration, weaving, and role playing. Educators will also have access to online audio files of local oral histories that provide first-hand information about child laborers from people who actually worked in mills, shoe shops and brickyards as children.

The museum expects the Travel Trunk program to be popular with local educators who have already expressed a great deal of interest in child labor and immigration.

“Prior to COVID-19, Museum L-A hosted hundreds of students annually from around the region who participated in field trips to learn more about the local history and heritage. Providing innovative resources to teachers, students, and parents is one way we can continue to serve the community, even as our galleries and exhibits are presently closed to the public,” said Executive Director Audrey Thomson, according to a museum news release.

While the trunk enables teachers to tap new and creative ways to experience history and social studies in their classroom, child labor lesson plans and information are also available on the museum’s websites at museumla.org and historyweaver.net. Both sites offer information that can be used with the Travel Trunk program.

For more information, email Denise Scammon, Museum L-A program coordinator, at [email protected].

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