Excitement filled Mount Holyoke's Joseph Allen Skinner Museum June 12-13 as local elementary school students visited to learn about South Hadley's history. While studying local history, Mosier Elementary School students focus on the history of Mount Holyoke College, the Skinner Museum, the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, and the South Hadley Public Library.
According to Ms. Johnston, a third-grade teacher at Mosier, "The school's first visit to the Skinner Museum was two years ago. However, last year they were unable to walk to the museum due to the construction on 116. Instead they visited the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum and found that there are two museums with a rich history within walking distance of our school." In the future, the teachers plan to alternate visiting the Art Museum and the Skinner Museum.
The teachers and parents that accompanied the third-graders on this trip "felt very lucky to have such rich historical institutions in their own backyard that their children can learn from, making learning about local history more of an enriching experience for everyone involved."
The students participated in a scavenger hunt that was created by the museum staff and edited by Meghan Gelardi, collections management assistant for the Skinner Museum. In editing the scavenger hunt for the third-grade field trip Ms. Gelardi chose objects that would highlight the collection and at the same time be of interest to a third-grade audience. One third-grader said that "it's fun to imagine the church bells ringing so long ago." While another student commented, "it is a very fun way to see history."
When asked, the third-graders noted that their favorite objects from the collection included a wooden monkey, bicycles, the sea shell collection, church bells, ship anchors, and the suits of armor. The favorite objects chosen by these perceptive young historians sum up the collection found at the Skinner Museum, where you're likely to find a piece of a meteorite next to a fragment from the Tombs of Kings in Thebes, Egypt, or an early nineteenth-century cheese press next to a striking collection of porcelain.
Throughout the museum diverse representations from many different cultures and time periods, including ancient Aztecan and Incan, African, Middle Eastern, and Colonial American, can be found.
Open May through October, the Joseph Allen Skinner Museum hours are Wednesday and Sundays, 2-5 pm. Admission is free. The museum is located at 33 Woodbridge Street (Route 116), about 2 blocks north of Mount Holyoke College.