Traveling Trunk Brings History to the Classroom and Beyond

October 18, 2015
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The American Indian: Tribes of New Jersey and the Eastern Woodlands trunk brings a bevy of Monmouth Museum artifacts and lessons to the classroom or facility. Courtesy Monmouth Museum

The American Indian: Tribes of New Jersey and the Eastern Woodlands trunk brings a bevy of
Monmouth Museum artifacts and lessons to the classroom or facility. Courtesy Monmouth Museum

By Bethany Cambeis

LINCROFT – Monmouth Museum, which was built on the foundation of serving its community as a center for education and culture, has found a way to incorporate this thought process and bring the hands-on, exciting education process to students. The Traveling Trunk Program allows schools and other facilities to rent a trunk filled with artifacts and teaching tools based on a specific topic to share with students.

Learners of all ages enjoy opening trunks geared to specific topics including Colonial Living, Dinosaur Fossils, Native American Indians of New Jersey and the Eastern Woodlands, Under the Sea, the Rain Forest, and the Victorian Era. This unique educational outreach program is a convenient, easy way to bring the museum to classrooms in neighboring school districts.

“The trunks are authentic antique traveling trunks and are filled with both archival and reproduction objects based around a theme,” said Lenora Miller, education assistant at Monmouth Museum. Teachers can choose specifically what objects and materials inside to use and correspond with the class.

A $35 rental fee allows a Traveling Trunk to be borrowed for 10 days. Each trunk is accompanied by special artifacts, DVDs, lesson plans, and other interactive material based on the age group. Teachers choose the trunk to correspond with the lesson being taught in class, often using the trunk’s objects to teach alongside textbooks.

To add to the experience, a professional docent – sometimes dressed in period costume – can visit and give an in depth, interactive display for an added fee.

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The trunks and their artifacts are popular with a variety of age groups. Not only in a classroom setting, presentations are available to senior facilities, homeschool groups, and long-term care centers.

Miller is proud to say that those who have been involved with Traveling Trunks are pleased and strongly enjoy the program. “This object-based program has been inspiring participants through hands-on learning for over 50 years,” she said, “and has been updated and redesigned offering a unique, economical opportunity to gain experimental knowledge through objects and inquiry learning.”

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