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BYU Museum of Peoples, Cultures receives grant for educator outreach program

Brigham Young University’s Museum of Peoples and Cultures received a donation of approximately $25,000 to create an Educator Services Program to be launched by August 2008.

The program is designed to provide all types of educators with hands-on tools to teach the importance of learning about and understanding other cultures. Through lesson plans, audio/visual materials, replicas and real objects and an online virtual teaching kit, the MPC will extend resources to teachers in public and private schools, home schoolers and teachers across the nation.

"We hope to make learning about cultures easier and more fun for teachers and students who may not have the resources to do so otherwise," said Kari Nelson, curator of education for the MPC.

The gift supports mentored learning for BYU students studying anthropology, museum education and Web design. It will also support new materials and housing for teaching kits and an inaugural Educators Open House in August 2008 to introduce educators to the services and enrichment the MPC's new Educators Services Program will bring.

"The great thing about the Educator Services Program is that once educators have the materials to put into action, we host yearly seminars to support and encourage them to continue," Nelson said.

Over the years, the Museum of Peoples and Cultures has served the BYU community as a teaching ground for student employees who execute professional museum duties and a resource for anthropological and archaeological learning. Currently, 22 student employees are engaged in research, archiving, managing objects, curation and visitor services.

The MPC also serves as a learning space for several graduate and undergraduate classes. The winter 2008 section of Advanced Instructional Design in the School of Education (IP&T 664) is currently designing the prototype teaching kit for the Educators Services program.

"The prototype, a Polynesian culture teaching kit, will be used as a template to create other new kits and update our four existing kits," Nelson said. "It will also help us create the virtual teaching kit."

Nelson plans to have the virtual teaching kit online by August 2008. It will contain all lesson plans and supplemental activities from the physical teaching kits and additional games, links and activities suitable for use in the home or school computer labs.

For more information, visit mpc.byu.edu.

Writer: David Luker

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