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Preparing the Exhibit

Workshop at Museum L-A

Museum L-A Educator Joan Beal guides Auburn Middle School students as they analyze primary sources in preparation for the exhibit.

Students evaluate Museum L-A’s exhibit, “The Way We Worked,” as they begin planning for their exhibit. Here they study a manual typewriter once used by a prominent local judge. It was the first time many of the students had seen this once-ubiquitous part of the workplace, schools, and home dens.

Teenage Generation: Exhibit on Youth Culture


In collaboration with Museum L-A, and with the support of the school administration, the school’s PTO and donations from DonorsChoose, teachers on the Whitecap team at Auburn Middle School are guiding their students in the preparation of an exhibit which will be displayed at Museum L-A, beginning on April 5. 

The public is invited to come learn about how teens have changed with the times, technology and more. An opening reception with free admission will take place from 5-7 p.m.Sixty-five students collected artifacts from their own family histories, interviewed parents and grandparents about life in different decades, and researched local and national history as part of a “Kids as Curators” program. 

These students have worked very hard researching and learning about teenagers over time - their sports, styles, music, and problems.  In conducting their research, they followed a set of guiding questions which included:  "Why do teens go so far to fit in?" and "What interested teens over the last 100 years?"

All this work culminates in an exhibit called “Teenage Generation: An Exhibit of Youth Culture 1913-2013,” which will be on display at Museum L-A through April 19.

Diana Carson, Humanities Teacher on the Whitecap team,  organized the trimester-long project, with assistance from her co-teachers, from Anthony Shostak of Bates College,  and from Joan Beal, a Museum Educator at Museum L-A. Through Beal’s involvement students learned about museums – and Museum L-A in particular – and how they research, design and mount exhibits as they developed plans to create their own.

DonorsChoose provides a way for people to donate directly to specific projects at public schools via its website. Contributions for this project went toward materials for constructing the exhibit. Museum L-A's participation was sponsored by Stephanie and Lee Upton of Auburn.

Beal designed an activity for the students to begin to analyze primary and secondary sources, utilizing materials from the Museum’s teaching collection. As part of their coursework, the students visited both Museum L-A and Bates College Olin Arts Center to view and evaluate exhibit design. “Diana Carson and I  made sure that the project aligns with the learning standards for the school,” Beal noted, adding that she created guidelines for the students to help them understand how their exhibit fits into Museum L-A’s mission of connecting generations and “documenting and celebrating the economic, social, and technological legacy of L-A and its people.”