The Learning Power of Engaging Exhibits

Throughout the city, Washington, DC has a rich selection of traveling and permanent exhibits that inform and excite residents and visitors. Exhibits are excellent tools for teaching history, culture, and critical thinking skills. They are big and bold, and they attract interest and introduce topics people might not otherwise consider.
The Story of Our Schools brings this idea into local communities by helping students develop unique storylines about their specific school community. Our permanent exhibits not only become learning tools, but they inspire additional projects and spark engaging conversations. They are designed to create welcoming spaces within schools where all community members can meet.
Each school exhibit will tell a different story. Some schools will consider their historic role in the community in relation to broader sociological changes. Some will tell stories of successful graduates, both celebrities and ordinary people, to give students an image of the possible. Some will tell the story about their school’s namesake. The storyline opportunities are endless.
Each exhibit is unique and custom designed depending on the selected themes, the physical space, and the available resources. Schools are busy places, so our exhibits are made of high quality, durable, exhibit-grade materials that allow for easy cleaning and are, as much as possible, maintenance-free.

Accurate and Engaging Stories – Through Students’ Eyes

With the guidance of dedicated teachers and our standards-aligned curriculum, students have the opportunity to participate throughout the research and exhibit development process. Our approach is grounded in project-based learning strategies that seek to create student-centered, hands-on learning environments, while allowing for student self-direction at a high level.
By teaming with DC historical institutions, students will learn primary research techniques and experience precious historical collections and artifacts first hand. To collect oral histories, students will have the opportunity to use technology to interview and record long-time community members.
A critical component of our process is the creation of an exhibit committee for each school partner that includes students, teachers, school administrators, parents, and community leaders. The exhibit committee is charged with guiding an engaging exhibit development process while supporting outreach and communications efforts.
Ultimately, the final exhibit story is approved and produced by a coordinated effort among The Story of Our Schools, historical institutions, and the school’s exhibit committee. The collaborative process will ensure that the story is appropriate for the school, factually accurate, and lends itself to exhibition.

Benefits

Our programming engages a wide variety of participants within each school community.

  • Creates a new learning and visitor space
  • Tells a unique story that the school community wants to share
  • Brings unique element to school building modernizations
  • Brings history alive through the exhibition space
  • Engages the broader school community
  • Informs prospective families
  • Excites long-term residents
  • Reinforces research, analytic, and writing skills in a real-world setting
  • Incorporates multimedia into projects
  • Instills a sense of pride in one’s school community
  • Teaches teamwork, communication, and collaboration skills
  • Provides experiential learning opportunities through field trips
  • Creates a positive legacy for students
  • Increases social and cultural capital
  • Provides curriculum for a year-long research-based learning program
  • Facilitates students’ leadership throughout the research and development process
  • Incorporates project-based learning with support from expert educators, curators, and historians
  • Aligns with rigorous DC standards
  • Invests new partners in the school
  • Provides opportunities to engage members of the broader community in the learning process