Cove Elementary visited Tamástslikt Cultural Institute today. Three classes from Central Elementary in LaGrande recently toured. Sixth, 7th and 8th graders of Clara Brownell Middle School from Umatilla, OR, visited last week. Their counselor, Deb Decker, applied to Target for a field trip grant that fully funded the school to go to both Underground Tours and Tamástslikt, including the bus cost, lunches, the works. Deb’s resourcefulness is to be praised. Next week Nixyáawii Community School and the Tribes’ Head Start program will visit. A whopping group from Windy River Elementary in Boardman is coming. Then comes Ferndale from Milton-Freewater. These are all schools from within the CTUIR’s ceded territories, so it is appropros for them to be interested in the history of their country.
Tamástslikt is presently offering free admission to school groups because we are promoting our current temporary exhibit, Amazing Feats of Aging. We usually sponsor Lewis & Clark-related programming during the springtime but made an exception this year. So sorry, at this time, no atlatl-throwing, no live raptors (except on First Friday), no first-person interpreter of Sgt. Patrick Gass, nor stickgame, nor storyteller, except by special arrangement.
Robert Sullivan of the National Museum of Natural History wrote that museums “provide alternative educational experiences for their communities, a counterbalancing educational bias, offering a new way of seeing, understanding, and learning. Or, as Neil Postman says, they must ‘free the young from the tyranny of the present.’ ….They can provide an alternative set of experiences that seek to transform and improve learners, not merely to improve their statistical performance. “ He goes on to say, “A learner’s intellect, feelings, values, and interests are instantaneously and simultaneously engaged. Isn’t it amazing how light, color, and form arranged in an extraordinary way can affect every fiber of a human being?” (True Needs, True Partners, Museums and Schools Transforming Education, 1996.) We have lofty aspirations.