Architecture, Community, Interviews

This was week two of Investigating Where We Live. I had Monday off for the Fourth of July Weekend. Tuesday students joined us again. We were supposed to have a site visit on Tuesday, but DC experienced an extreme heat wave, and health advisories were issued. Jamee decided to cancel the site visit, which was a decision I wholeheartedly agreed with. In the morning we had a photo review with the students. We went over the photos I had printed out for them. The students got feedback from the professional photographers. That afternoon I had to teach a lesson on architectural history and historic preservation, which I had not been planning to do until Wednesday. I could not have asked for a better audience. Everyone sat quietly while I was talking. I tried to make my presentation as interactive as possible by asking lots of questions, and the students readily participated. I was especially proud of my group, the Southwest Waterfront, as they answered many of my questions. For my presentation I went over some of the most prominent architectural styles in DC. I discussed Classical, Gothic, Federal, Victorian, and Modern. After going over the features of each style, I asked the students if they could think of any examples. Then I had them analyze the example I provided. I also had the students sketch one prominent architectural feature in their sketchbook for each style. For the activity the students built models of buildings in their neighborhoods out of materials like boxes, popsicle sticks, and construction paper. The students used photographs they had taken in the neighborhoods as guides. I was happy to see that the students got very involved in their projects, and put a great deal of effort into them. When I announced that they only had ten minutes left they all begged for more time to work on their buildings. In the Southwest group students made a house boat, a federal house called the Thomas Law House, the Safeway Grocery store, and Jefferson Jr. High School. The models really turned out well, and the students had fun making them. The Trinidad group made some great models of colorful row houses, which are a prominent feature in the neighborhood.

Thursday was another site visit. It was still very hot, but there were not any heat advisories in the morning. Thursday’s focus was on interviews. The students were given the task of interviewing community members to hear about their perspectives. We had scheduled a meeting with the marina dock master. When the dock master arrived he gave the students a nice background and history on the marina. He explained how developers want to fix up the marina, to bring it up to par with areas such as the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. I’m glad the students were able to meet with the dock master, as he gave a great overview of the marina. He agreed to be filmed, so maybe we will use the interview in the exhibit in some way. After the interview with the dock master we returned to the museum for lunch. The students also did a writing workshop with a guest speaker. The students were very tired from being outside all morning, so they did not have much energy during the writing exercise. However, I think having a quiet activity for them to do was a good idea. I do think they had fun with the writing exercises, even if they were very quiet.

The students don’t come of Fridays, so I spent the day doing prep tasks. I uploaded the videos the students had taken to our network and to the classroom computers, which took several hours. I updated the Investigating Where We Live Blog with some posts the students had written. I took all the batteries out of the cameras and charged them, and put fresh batteries in the cameras. We had a brown bag lunch with the Education Department. Even though I am interning with the Education Department I still enjoyed the lunch. I am in the outreach division, so I am already familiar with what we do. However, I learned about other divisions in the Education Department, such as public programs and school programs. It was obvious that everyone who spoke really loves their job, which was inspiring to hear. I would really like to work in museum education, and hearing everyone talk confirmed to me that it is a great field to work in.