Museum of Family History
In this activity, students learn about a part of their own family history and have the opportunity to practice interviewing and writing skills. To showcase their learning, students curate their own museum of family history artifacts.
- Artifacts are objects of historical and personal significance in Jewish life
- Creating and recording history is something that can be done by all people, not only by scholars and writers
- What is oral history?
- If you want to find out about someone’s life experiences, what questions should you ask them?
- Dry erase/chalk board or butcher block paper
- Writing implements (markers, chalk, pens, pencils)
- Craft supplies (markers, crayons, glue, etc.)
- Paper in assorted sizes and colors
- Timeline and expectations for the project for students and families
Notes to Teacher
The lessons included in the My Bat Mitzvah Story curriculum are intended to take much longer than an average class period, and they offer many options for extended projects. Please feel free to pick and choose what will be most practical and useful for your own classroom, and do not feel obligated to complete the lessons in full.
These lessons are intended for b’nai mitzvah students and draw on the Bat Mitzvah experience in particular. While they can certainly be completed in all-girl classrooms, teachers are encouraged to use these lessons in multi-gender classrooms as well. While the lessons are rooted in the Bat Mitzvah experience, the themes are applicable to all students in this age group.
This lesson includes many extension activities that can be used engage your students in substantive, long-term projects, such as:
In step # 5 below (Closing Discussion), invite all of the visitors to participate in the discussion. Alternately, you could have your students form a panel and have the visitors/audience members ask them questions.
Telling Stories Through Art
Depending on the age of your students and the time you have to devote to this project, you may also consider using the interviews and artifact photos students collect to inspire art projects based on the narrator’s stories. For one example of how this has been done, check out the “adDRESSING Women’s Lives” project by Barabara Rosenblit, Sheila Miller, and students at the Weber School in Atlanta, GA.
Using a video or slideshow tool, teachers can create a multimedia presentation for their class oral history project, using video, audio, and images. After completing Parts 1 and 2 below, find a presentation tool that meets your needs. You may choose to use PowerPoint, or there are several free tools online, like PreZentit, Empressr, or Zoho Show. Students gather digital photographs of the objects their narrators are talking about that you then upload them into the slide show.
You can also include audio or video clips. Instead of writing responses to some of the prompts in Parts 3 and 4 above, you may choose to have your students talk about the experience of doing oral history on video and include the clips in your presentation.
Students can also write the “story version” of their oral history (See Part 3, #4) and do an audio recording of themselves reading it to serve as the “voice over” for the photograph or image they include in the slide show.
Note: Be sure to notify parents and families of your plan to put things on the web. Many schools have privacy policies and rules about posting to school websites or class blogs. If you or your school needs more guidance about this issue, consider contacting Darim Online, or reading their Social Media Policy Workbook to make sure you are protecting your students and their work.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Museum of Family History." (Viewed on September 30, 2023) <https://jwa.org/teach/mbms/museum-of-family-history>.