Mystic Seaport Honors New London Teacher with Orion Award

Macy Kleinfelder, the Dean of Student Affairs and a history teacher at The Williams School, received the award September 27.

Mystic, Conn. (September 29, 2014)—Mystic Seaport today announced Macy Kleinfelder is the 2014 recipient of the Orion Award for Excellence in Experiential Education.

The Orion Award is bestowed by the Museum on stellar teachers who create meaningful and innovative learning experiences for their students by utilizing the collections, programs, and learning resources of Mystic Seaport. The Award recognizes teachers who infuse history, math, science, and literature with a maritime focus and are an inspiration to their students and their colleagues.

Kleinfelder is the Dean of Student Affairs and a history teacher at The Williams School in New London.

In the summer of 2012, Kleinfelder was selected as one of a group of teachers to help Mystic Seaport create an online learning community for educators.  This has since developed into Mystic Seaport for Educators, an innovative website for teachers that facilitates access to the Museum’s collections for the purpose of creating learning tools to bring America’s maritime heritage into the classroom.

Kleinfelder also brought her students to the Museum to analyze the Charles W. Morgan as an artifact, and completed a “Curators’ Challenge” with her students and Museum staff, where they had to create an exhibit based on artifact analysis.  She used this trip to prepare her students for an inquiry-based midterm project back in the classroom. She also worked with Mystic Seaport staff to create an online map of the 27th voyage of the Charles W. Morgan using its logbook.  Kleinfelder additionally taught a professional development workshop for museum educators at Mystic Seaport about working with middle- and high-school students.

“We chose to honor Macy Kleinfelder with this award because she is a treasure trove of new ideas, and she is willing to take risks in the classroom, try new approaches, and constantly pursue innovation and improvement,” said Sarah Cahill, director of education at Mystic Seaport.

The Orion Award for Excellence in Experiential Education was introduced in 2005 in honor of the Museum’s 75th Anniversary. Named for one of the most familiar constellations –the Hunter Orion, son of the sea god Poseidon–Orion has often marked the course for many seagoing vessels. Through the Orion Award, Mystic Seaport acknowledges the unique skills and abilities of teachers to link disciplines and communicate ideas with their students, helping their students navigate the course of life.

Downloadable image: Macy Kleinfelder receives the Orion Award at the annual Members Meeting at Mystic Seaport on Saturday, September 27. Pictured (left to right) Macy Kleinfelder, Sarah Cahill, director of education. Photo credit: Mystic Seaport/Dennis Murphy.

About Mystic Seaport

Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Founded in 1929, the Museum is home to four National Historic Landmark vessels, including the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaleship in the world. The Museum is located one mile south of exit 90 off I-95 in Mystic, CT. Admission is $24 for adults and $15 for children 6-17. Museum members and children under 5 are admitted for free. For more information, please visit https://mysticseaport.wpengine.com/, and follow Mystic Seaport on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.