Education

To learn more about the following programs, contact Museum Manager Lynsey Allie
at info@vahistorymuseum.org or 540-982-5465.

Education Programs Include Visual Literacy

Museum educators conduct programming in classrooms and at the museums. Programs available include settlement of the Roanoke Valley, the Civil War homefront and Then & Now photography:

Going West: European Settlement of the Roanoke Valley

Learn about people who settled the Roanoke Valley and the American Indians who already lived here. Explore how people survived and eventually prospered in an area once considered wilderness; discuss how western settlements like Roanoke were involved in the Revolutionary War. On the fun side, students make butter in this class.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about native cultures in the Roanoke Valley
  • Understand why European settlers came to the valley
  • Learn how western settlements contributed to the American Revolution
  • Analyze reproductive American Indian artifacts

Suggested Readings

  • You Wouldn’t Want to Be an American Colonist!: A Settlement You’d Rather Not Start; ages 8 and up
  • Enemy in the Fort by Sarah Masters Buckley; ages 9-12.

How Work Has Changed: The 20th Century Labor Movement

View photographs of child laborers in Roanoke mill, taken by Lewis Hine, whose photos helped get tighter enforcement of labor laws in the early 1900s. Students can pretend they work in the cotton mills and try their hand at working the doffer station (changing spindles). Discuss the labor movement and how workers formed unions to fight for better wages and working conditions. Students read selected primary sources about the movement and try to think like historians.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how work has changed
  • Identify important leaders and strategies of the labor movement
  • Develop analytical reading skills with primary sources
  • Teamwork

Suggested Readings

  • The Bobbin Girl by Emily Arnold McCully; ages 6-9
  • Missing from Haymarket Square by Harriette Gillem Bell; ages 10-14

Pinching Pennies: Saving during the Great Depression

Learn about the importance of saving money! Students will learn the differences between saving, spending, and donating, and how people in the past managed their money. The program starts by reading the picture book, A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams, in which a family works together to save enough money for a new armchair after losing theirs to a house fire. Students make their own piggy banks out of recycled materials so they can start their own savings!

Learning Objectives

  • Define saving, spending, and donating
  • Learn that work has changed
  • Artistic development

Suggested Readings

  • A Dollar, a Penny, How Much and How Many by Brian Cleary; ages 2-5
  • How to Turn $100 Into $1,000,000: A Kid’s Guide to Earning, Saving, and Investing; ages 6- 10

Banks made during class

Life on the Home Front: Roanoke during the Civil War

Learn what life was like for the women, children, and older men who stayed at home during the Civil War. Tour Civil War-related exhibits and discuss what happens at home during the war, based on letters between area family members. Write your own letters to a family member fighting in the war.

Learning Objectives

  • List examples of how and why the war affected citizens’ day-to-day life
  • Discuss the challenges faced by those on the home front
  • Describe how news traveled to the home front during the Civil War
  • Develop analytical reading skills with primary sources
  • Creative writing

Suggested Readings

  • Guts & Glory: The American Civil War by Ben Thompson; ages 8-12
  • Pink and Say (about a friendship between black and white soldiers) by Patricia Polacco; ages 5-9

Visual Literacy Workshop

Like words, photographs have their own meanings, thoughts, and emotions. They record important events and can be used as historical evidence. Learning to read images

Learn how O. Winston Link created this plane, train photo expands our observation and critical thinking skills. Discuss images from O. Winston Link as he chronicled the end of the steam train on the Norfolk & Western Railway, including the communities the trains rolled through.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn to read the stories within photographs and pictures
  • Understand principles of light, focus, framing, and composition
  • Develop analytical skills.
Visual Literacy Workshop

Learn how O. Winston Link created this plane, train photo

Then & Now Photography

Explore Roanoke’s history through photography. Then and Now and Shoot Like Link workshops also are offered for teens and adults. Then and Now encourages participants to recreate the setting of an historic photo. Veteran photographers from the Roanoke Camera Club are enlisted to teach these classes. Shoot Like Link explores Link’s photography techniques, which were advanced for their time.