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Junior Curators Learn in Museum

November 08, 2000|NANCY FORREST-YOSNOW

Fourteen students from Sheridan Way Elementary School are learning how to create a museum exhibit during a six-week program at the Ventura County Museum of History and Art.

The Junior Curator program gives students a hands-on learning experience that uses the entire museum as a laboratory classroom, said education director Wendy VanHorn.

The culmination students' efforts is the creation of an exhibit case for the lobby of the Ventura museum. The students are responsible for collecting the artifacts, planning a design, arranging the physical layout and writing the labels, VanHorn said.

The students' display theme ties in with a history of surfing exhibit in the museum's Hoffman Gallery.

Fourth-graders Daniel Marquez and Anna Luna have contributed a Hawaiian shirt and a carved wooden vase for the display, which features sea shells, ceramic dolphins, artwork of historic Ventura, pukka shells, sand, surf photographs and a book on surfing.

Fifth-grader Nathan Martinez suggested shark teeth be displayed more prominently in the exhibit and so they stand out from the rest of the display.

"I like to help with the museum," said Nathan, 10, who contributed a large and small shell. "I hope to have a career dealing with art."

School librarian Anna Bermudez said the students were hesitant about coming to the museum for the first time, but now are eager to participate. The children were fascinated by Kathy Henri's job as the museum's collection manager and assistant curator, because she oversees the entire museum collection that is not on display.

"They were so excited about working in the basement, where all the artifacts are stored," Henri said. "They just love all that stuff."

Bermudez said the biggest challenge for her students has been finding artifacts that reflect the exhibit theme.

"Our students aren't involved with surfing so we encouraged them to bring something related to the ocean and the beach or bring shells that they have found," she said.

Fourth-grader Alma Trejo-Rodriguez said she has enjoyed participating in the program.

"It's fun," Alma, 9, said. "I've learned how much work the museum staff has to put in to display everything." The student exhibit will be on display Nov. 14-26 at the museum, 100 E. Main St.

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