As part of the Museum’s digital education initiative, six high school students from St. Scholastica’s College in Glebe, Australia joined Mystic Seaport this week via remote video to learn about public history and American maritime heritage.
This was the first international virtual education program for the Museum.
Their teacher said the students were nearing the end of their term and had exams on their minds, but this break from the normal school day gave them a chance to learn about the role that museums play when it comes to teaching the public about history, science, and other subjects.
Krystal Rose, Manager of Digital Education Initiatives at Mystic Seaport, conducted the virtual class from the video studio in the Museum’s Collections Research Center. She explained the practice of public history through the many activities and programs that the Museum engages in, including the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaling ship in the world.
The students were particularly intrigued by how a vessel that was once used to kill and process whales for oil and baleen could also be used to bring awareness to the conservation of marine mammals. They learned about the Museum’s partnership with the scientists of NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries during the voyage, and about the 85 “38th Voyagers” who traveled on the ship. Comprised of a diverse group, including scientists, poets, artists, historians, teachers and other scholars, they interpreted and shared the Morgan’s message through their own projects—a great example of public history. In addition, the students also learned about how museums gather and use artifacts in different ways from exhibition to publication.
“It was very exciting to be able to share our work with students so far away, and to see their curiosity and enthusiasm for the material,” said Rose.