Why do you think approximately 4 million people visit the Statue of Liberty each year?
Do you think it's important to have museums at historical sites such as the Statue of Liberty? Why or why not?
What do you think are the pros and cons of building a larger museum at the Statue of Liberty? Explain your opinions.
Think about a historic site with a museum that you've visited. Did the museum affect what you thought about the site? How?
- As a class, discuss the types of exhibits usually seen in a museum. If necessary, point out that items may be mounted on bare walls or walls may be painted with murals. Exhibits can take up entire rooms or be so small that several objects fit in a glass-fronted case. And many museums also use technology to educate visitors. They show movies, have digital displays and even have interactive elements that heighten the visitor's experience.
- Outline the process for creating an exhibit. If you wish, use the Smithsonian lesson "History close to Home: Creating Your Own Special Museum" as a guide.
- Have students conduct research to learn more about the Statue of Liberty. Suggest that they begin their search with the National Park Service site about the monument.
- Challenge students to identify one or more items that they think should be included in the new Statue of Liberty museum. Encourage them to conduct additional research to learn more about those items.
- Provide art supplies, poster board, small boxes and access to a digital design program. Based on what they've learned, instruct students to select the type of exhibit best suited to their material. Encourage them to create a poster, diorama or digital display.
Invite students to present their finished exhibits to the class. Challenge them to explain why they think the items they showcased should be featured in the new museum.
CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:
Have students complete the project in small groups. Instruct groups to select one item they think is important to include in the museum. If necessary, suggest additional resources they could use to learn more about that object. Instruct students to create a poster or diorama. Encourage them to brainstorm ideas for digital components that could also be featured in their exhibit. If two or more groups created exhibits for the same object, encourage the class to identify the most interesting or informative features of each. NOTE: If you'd like to extend the lesson, consider reading A Picnic in October by Eve Bunting to the class. Before reading, inform students that the Statue of Liberty was the first thing many people saw when they came to America. Because of that, it has become a symbol of freedom, especially for people seeking a better life. After reading, challenge students to explain why the Statue of Liberty was so important to the family in the story.
Have students complete the project in small groups. Instruct groups to select one theme that they think should be featured in the museum. Challenge students to identify several items that should be included in an exhibit with this theme. If necessary, suggest additional resources they could use to learn more about the objects they chose. Tell groups to create a poster or diorama for their exhibit. Encourage them to also write a detailed outline for one digital component that could enhance the visitor's experience with their exhibit. Encourage the class to compare the end results if two or more groups created exhibits based on the same theme.
Give students time to review the National Park Service site about the Statue of Liberty. Then have the class brainstorm a list of themes that could be featured in the museum. Divide the class into small groups and assign each group a theme. Instruct students to identify the three most important items related to their theme. Tell them to create a separate display for each object. Displays can be posters or dioramas or students may use a digital format of their choice. Once all displays are complete, challenge groups to create a digital mock-up for a room-sized exhibit based on their theme. Remind them to show where each display will be located in the room.
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct students to review the National Park Service site about the Statue of Liberty. Challenge groups to identify the three themes that they think would be most important to address in the new museum. Then encourage them to identify which artifacts should be associated with each theme. Inform groups that they will create a digital version of a three-room museum in which each room has its own theme. It is up to them to decide how to break down the tasks. Their end product should include detailed examples of at least three exhibits in each room as well as a summary telling how the digital elements they include will enhance the visitor's experience.
This Smithsonian article discusses the myth that last names were changed at Ellis Island to make them sound more American.
This Smithsonian article shares a little known fact about the iconic statue, the statue itself is a Muslim immigrant, originally intended to represent an Egyptian peasant.
This online exhibit is part of On the Water: Stories from Maritime America. It focuses on the role ocean liners played during the massive immigration of people to the United States from Europe and Asia during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Students will learn how ocean liners such as the Mauretania, Titanic and the S.S. United States became a popular, and sometimes dangerous, mode of leisure travel for those who could afford it.
This online exhibit presents the stories of immigrants from Mexico, Cuba and other Latin American countries. Students can view objects related to their journey to America and learn about the experiences of workers in the mid-twentieth century bracero guest worker program.
This Smithsonian article recounts an interesting fact about the Statue of Liberty's arrival in New York. It arrived in pieces and had to be assembled before her inauguration.
In this Smithsonian article, Sculptor Danh Vo has reimagined the greatest symbol of the worldwide refugee experience. He is interviewed about re-creating the Statue of Liberty, piece by massive piece.