National Museum of the American Indian at Smithsonian Institution – Assignment Example

The paper "National Museum of the American Indian at Smithsonian Institution" is a wonderful example of an assignment on culture. The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is a historical site at the National Mall on the Fourth Street and independence in Washington, D.C. (Lonetree and Cobb 1). NMAI is an exhibition and educational center. The local content in feature films, symposia music, and the dances performances provides an exhibition that explores the resilience and cultural preservation efforts of the Native people of America (Lonetree and Cobb 2). In a modern world defined by the majority of overshadowing minorities, the rich culture sustained through artifacts, themes, and other accessories is unbelievable.  The National Museum of the American Indian
The Museum is a 5-storey building covering 4.25 acres that are contained in a site of 250,000 square feet (Lonetree and Cobb 2). The design is full of curves and the color choice is a golden tan of limestone that gives a natural rocky feeling that ensures an ancient appearance suitable for the native theme. The architects and landscape engineers designed a surrounding wetland that is simulated to enhance the real native environment effect. The entrance towards the east is 37 meters high space used as a stage for various entertainments based on the native tribes (Lonetree and Cobb 2).
The preparation you would give the students before taking the trip to this museum
I would provide the students with study guides and details of facts on the museum tour so that they understand what they are expected to observe and learn. The students must be divided into small study groups with identified leaders to enable easy supervision on the members’ progress within the museum. The group leader should be equipped with guidelines and specific assessment criteria for the tour.
Educational features of the museum.
The Museum has ancient literature that gives authenticity to the matching artifacts. There are treasure games and maps to enable students to understand the ancient settlement patterns. The treasure games give insight into native valuables and lifestyle. There are various accessories and photographs depicting rituals and traditions with relevant captions that act as guides to the students. Various brief videos are projected in highlighting historical facts, contemporary issues as well as the Frequently Asked Questions option. The resource has material exploring almost all native communities with their cultural affiliation. A music section with more than 40000 tracks in folk songs from across the world contains information on native language, phrases, and sayings (Lonetree and Cobb 9). The geography section contains samples of rocks and other natural depictions believed to have had significant importance in ancient times. George Catlin site has the historical documents and paintings of the contemporary experts making researchers to explore both the Catlin’s and present cultures (Lonetree and Cobb 17).
The assignment you would give the students while at the museum that relates to your curriculum.
1. What materials were the artifacts made of and why?
2. How old are the artifacts and the evidence to support your answer?
3. Is there anything at home that the artifacts remind the student of, or they can relate to?
4. What is the purpose of the artifacts?
5. How many Native American tribes can they identify?
Thoughts on how you would follow up in class after the museum visit.
The students should present their findings through their discussions groups in class. They should also choose a character from the exhibition and conduct research in their real-life so as to identify with the character’s life story. They should develop ideas on the significant events witnessed during the visit to the museum that would survive modern times.
Discuss any areas in the museum of a logistical challenge
The different sections of artifacts representing different native tribes were incoherent. Every tribe seems to be displaying their culture and history in isolation. The museum should try and show some cultural relationship and find a way to make the sections blend or have a smooth transition. An example would be to have neighboring tribes placed next to each other so that the instructor has a smooth transition in the tour session. Otherwise, it looks like a collection of shops in a mall. I also found that the items were not sufficiently marked thus self-assessment and observation is crippled.
If possible, observe a class of students visiting the museum, noting their behavior, assignments they were working on, and other aspects of interest to teachers.
A similar class in pursuit of native tribes’ rituals and totems used was impressive. The students worked in groups and each group had a tribe of choice. They walked in and each group went to its preferred location. After extensive observation, the groups split into halves which each half moving over to the next station. The remaining half acted as personal instructors on the section lecturing their colleagues about the section. After a similar amount of time, another group shift happened and this time, the remaining half joined their original colleagues. The process continued until everyone had visited each section. They immediately assembled at a restaurant for snacks afterward and had informal sessions where the teacher randomly picked a speaker every five minutes. They were expected to talk about a certain topic and provide samples in picture or sketches. The session was very lively and students seemed to enjoy taking charge of the discussion.