Students at Skowhegan Area Middle School (SAMS) know their local history! Laura Richter, the Technology Integrator at SAMS, has been a social studies teacher for 17 years and has always looked for creative ways to help students study their community.
In 2002, Maine Historical Society (MHS) staff helped her set up a meeting with staff from the Skowhegan History House to discuss historical resources in Skowhegan and to brainstorm ideas for student-led projects. Lee Granville, president of the History House, then invited a small group of teachers to the History House for an introduction to their collections and to let inspiration strike.
One teacher found the scrapbook of Elise Fellows White, a child violin prodigy from Skowhegan who, in the 1880's, played in Boston at the age of ten and in Vienna when she was 12. Another found the military kit, family records, and correspondence of Alexander Crawford, a farmer from Skowhegan who had fought in the Civil War. They had just scratched the surface.
For the past year and a half, students from SAMS, using their MLTI laptops, have been scanning and taking digital photographs of these and many other amazing items. Working closely with staff from MHS and the History House, students have learned to do historical research, work with fragile historical items, and to scan, catalog, and upload those items into Maine Memory.
They are also building online exhibits that explore different aspects of Skowhegan history, creating iMovies to document their work, recording oral histories with community members, and have been leaders in a local effort to save their town's Grange Hall. Please visit their exhibits on the right or below, and stay tuned to see what these amazing students do next!