Planning the Exhibits

Now that students have learned about oral history and begun the interview process, your class can begin to think about how they will share what they have learned with each other, and if you choose, with the larger community. This section will guide students through the process of organizing and sharing their findings as oral historians and curators.

To prepare for this activity

  1. Students should have completed (or be in the process of completing) an oral history interview with an older family member, friend, or community member about a significant object of the individual’s choosing.
  2. Students should bring the responses to their questions to class.
    1. If a student or students have not completed their oral history interviews yet, you can begin this part of the activity as long as they know which objects they will be asking about and if they have some background on why the object is important.

Activity Plan

  1. In pairs or small groups, have students share their interviews and objects with each other. Hand out the following prompts to each group, or post them on the board for students to use as a guide.
    1. Who did you choose to interview? Why?
    2. What object did your narrator choose to share?
    3. What is the most interesting thing you learned in your interview? What is your favorite part of your narrator’s story?
    4. Why is your narrator’s story important to you? To the Jewish community? To the world?
  2. Come together as a whole class and decide how to group the objects students have gathered. Will you group them by time period? By type of object? Each group will make up one “exhibit” in the museum.
  3. Help the students decide who belongs in each “exhibit” or object group.
    1. Each group should write 3-5 sentences about why these kinds of objects are important and what they can teach us about the past.
    2. The members in each group should also discuss what they will name their exhibit and create a poster with the exhibit title and the description they’ve written.
  4. As homework (or in class, as time allows), ask students to write a “story” version of their interview, using what they learned from their narrator. This will serve as the “label” of their piece in the museum.
    1. Offer students the opportunity to write some of their reflections on the process with the following questions:
      1. Why is your narrator’s story an important part of your own story or your community’s story?
        1. What similarities and differences are there between your life and your narrator’s life?
        2. How does your narrator’s story influence your life?
      2. Did doing this project make you curious about other parts of history? How? What parts?
      3. What part of this project was meaningful to you? What did you like best about doing the oral history project?
      4. Is collecting family/oral history important? Why or why not?
      5. How does your narrator’s story relate to your bar/bat mitzvah?

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. " Planning the Exhibits." (Viewed on October 21, 2019) <>.


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