As I traveled around the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and the Science Center in Regina last week, I found that the conversations I had with my classmates to be very beneficial and thought provoking. The conversations were first of all, a great way to get to discuss with others what you were thinking or feeling about what you were seeing at the museums, but it was second of all, a great way to talk about how viewing these two museums would be beneficial for a middle years class to observe. As my classmates and I walked around the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, we talked about how the displays with the First Nations peoples were almost romanticized because it looked like the relationship between the white Europeans and the First Nations’ people was mainly positive – with trades and sharing of land, but what the displays left out was the difficult topics like residential schools. It seemed to us like some of the displays were very one sided and there was not any information about the Metis people. There may have been a bit of information on residential schools on a timeline on the wall, but it was very small writing among a lot of history on the timeline and even I overlooked it.
I think that going to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum could be a possible prompt to get students to look for the demonstrated relationships between the Europeans and the First Nation’s people. You could send your students out looking for information on residential schools as well and then debrief with them about what they did or did not find at the end of the day. I think that asking your students why information is missing in the exhibits is a great teachable moment in which the students could learn about hidden messages or selective messages in the exhibits.
While I found the conversations with my classmates interesting while we walked around the museums, I also found it distracting. Since I had never been to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum before, I wanted to look deeply at all of the displays and read the information, but my classmates had already seen the museum before, so they just kept walking ahead and I felt rushed to even just get a glance at everything. So, with a groups, I felt like I didn’t really get a good look at everything in the museum that I wanted to. Though, I do think that social interaction can be a huge help towards formal learning because students are able to discuss while they wander around the museum and share their thoughts on what they are seeing and learning. Hopefully then, some of their social interactions with each other will stick with the students rather than only their own thoughts. Hearing other people’s opinions can help you to think deeper about the subjects that you are viewing and hopefully that will help aid in remembering what you talked about at the museum after you leave.
I really like that both the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and the Science Center have guided tours because the guides have knowledge that we as viewers may not find or pick up from just viewing the exhibits by ourselves. I really like that the Science Center has workshops available for almost all ages, but especially for middle years students. I would be interested in taking my class to both the Science Center and the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, but especially to a guided Science Center workshop and then leaving the students extra time to roam the Science Center on their own or in groups. I really enjoyed trying a few of the workshops while we visited as a class and I feel like it would be very beneficial to bring my students to the Science Center for one of the workshops. I appreciated that there were so many workshops offered and that they were all topics that would easily connect with the Middle Years curriculum.