Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Museum visits bring history lessons to life for Pinellas students


On a mid December morning, sixth-graders from Pinellas Park Middle School gathered around ancient artifacts and artwork at the Museum of Fine Arts. They sat or stood with clipboards amid oil paintings and sculptures. They took notes about Hindu deities and listened to stories from museum docents for their final essays.

"I think their favorite part and my favorite part is the connection between what I've taught them about and seeing it in real life," said Rebecca Buidens, a history teacher at Pinellas Park Middle. "They ask me if these are the real artifacts."

More than 1,800 students from across the county have visited the museum's permanent collection since October, part of its new program to connect art with Pinellas schools' history curriculum. By the end of the school year, an additional 4,500 students are expected to visit the museum.

Linda Whitley, the school district's social studies supervisor, worked with the museum's curator of public programs, Anna Glenn, to develop the museum as a history source for students.

"It was my belief that art is a reflection of the time and helps us understand periods of history," Whitley said. "It shows that these were real human beings that lived their lives, not so different from the lives we live today. It helps the kids make a really strong connection with their lives."

Teachers draw lessons from the permanent collection, which includes ancient Western, African, Asian and other civilizations. The exhibits ask students to identify characteristics of those societies, such as how they gathered food and governed themselves.

Tabitha Shorter, a world history teacher at Bay Point Middle School, had her students make a replica of an artifact and share it during a "Night at the Museum" at Bay Point.

"Our world history curriculum calls for us to look at ancient societies," Shorter said. "We strive to expose our students to take deeper thoughts about how civilizations conducted their daily routines such as we do now."

Whitley enlisted Pinellas history teachers to help develop the curriculum. The Pinellas Education Foundation's Hundley grant allows the school district's visual arts department to cover costs for transportation and ticketing.

"I would really like to see that we were able to help students see the connection in the art museum, the social studies curriculum they are working on, and connecting that to what it means to be a visual artist," said Sue Castleman, visual arts director for Pinellas schools.

Students get vouchers that allow them to return with their families. Whitley sees it as a chance for students to bring their families and be the expert.

"Museums are a place they can explore to learn about other cultures, to learn more about what they like," said Glenn, the museum's curator of public programs. "It's the idea that they can share with their parents what they have learned."

Museum visits bring history lessons to life for Pinellas students 12/19/13 [Last modified: Thursday, December 19, 2013 5:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Video: Trump shoves fellow NATO leader aside on his first summit


    President Donald Trump muscled himself to the front of the NATO pack during a photo opportunity in Brussels on Thursday, pushing aside the leader of soon-to-be member Montenegro.

    In this image taken from NATO TV, Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic, second right, appears to be pushed by U.S. President Donald Trump as they were given a tour of NATO's new headquarters after taking part in a group photo, during a NATO summit of heads of state and government in Brussels on Thursday. [NATO TV via AP]
  2. FBI probes fraudster's alleged church scam following Tampa Bay Times report

    Real Estate

    PLANT CITY — Once again, the FBI is investigating felon fraudster Victor Thomas Clavizzao.

    The FBI is investigating convicted mortgage fraudster Victor Thomas Clavizzao on new allegations following a Tampa Bay Times report.
[TImes file photo]

  3. See inside this Snell Isle home with an amazing chandelier and infinity pool

    Home and Garden

    When Elizabeth and David Samuelson started planning the house they built six years ago on Snell Isle, the couple envisioned a West Indies look with masonry stucco walls and a metal hip roof. As they moved forward, it evolved into something they describe as coastal contemporary.

    Elizabeth Samuelson and David Samuelson's at the entrance to their Snell Isle house which has numerous luxurious features yet is a comfortable home for a family of four. An infinity pool blends seamlessly from the terrace right into Tampa Bay. Doors surrounding the family room open and are then out of sight enabling the interior to seem more outside than inside. David designed and made a chandelier with hundreds of dangling, clear fish that hangs over the foyer.
  4. Appeals court deals blow to Trump administration travel ban


    WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court dealt another blow to President Donald Trump's revised travel ban targeting six-Muslim majority countries on Thursday, siding with groups that say the policy illegally targets Muslims.

    Donald Trump will likely appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. [Stephanie Lecocq/Pool via AP]
  5. Bucs suspended RB Doug Martin breaks his silence and says his drug problem is 'definitely behind me.'


    He would not talk about the drug he abused. He didn’t identify the rehab facility he entered last January or how long he was there.

    Doug Martin was contrite but optimistic about returning to the form he demonstrated as the NFL's second leading rusher two years ago.