The Kitah Hey (5th-grade) Living Museum went “live” on our website two weeks ago! This annual event is always a highlight of the Talmud Torah school year, serving as a remarkable experiential opportunity for our students to focus on receiving and transmitting personal family histories, but this year’s transformation to a totally virtual event made its impact even more powerful!
Each Kitah Hey student is asked to consult with their extended families to identify a meaningful Jewish family artifact that will be displayed in a student-curated museum-like setting, usually in the Tychman Shapiro Gallery of the Sabes JCC. They speak with family members to learn of the item’s history, function, and significance, gaining an understanding of how their artifact may have served as a vehicle for expressing their family’s life through Jewish rituals and/or interactions. In anticipation of their week-long museum exhibit, students create a written description and explanation that will be part of the artifact’s formal display. The students then serve as “docents” for museum visitors and guests, sharing personal family stories and reflections about their displayed artifacts. The Living Museum also serves all of the other students in our TT school community, who not only connect with each other during their class visits to the Museum, but also learn a tremendous amount about the personal histories and Jewish journeys of their classmates and friends.
Because of the ongoing pandemic and in support of this year’s continued distance learning programming, our amazing Kitah Hey teachers, Mary Baumgarten and Susie Chalom, worked tirelessly to find new ways for students to be totally engaged in this virtual project. They not only created the framework for students to be able to digitally display and document their family treasures, but they also designed an interactive “grand opening” program that encouraged even more intergenerational discussions and the sharing of oral family histories.
Kudos to Susie and Mary for their inspirational gifts of time, expertise, and passion, fashioning an exceptional experience that our students and their families will never forget! It’s not too late for you to visit the Living Museum. Please click HERE to view the complete catalogue of our students’ individual video presentations of their family Jewish artifacts.
Chag Kasher v’Sameach – May you and your extended family enjoy a meaningful and sweet Pesach!
Hazzan Jeremy Lipton, Head of School