Second graders studying Birmingham's history typically take a school tour of the city's Birmingham Museum but with the state shutdown, the museum has created a six-part video series that parents, teachers and students can view and virtually tour the museum.
The Birmingham Museum has produced a six-part series on the history of the 1822 Hunter House and pioneer families of the area. Each video explores a different room of the oldest house in Oakland County and a different aspect of life in the early settlement. Youngsters will be joined in their discovery of the house by Bella the therapy dog of the Birmingham Police Department.
Museum assistant Caitlin Donnelly said the idea to produce the virtual tour videos came about when the stay-at-home order was extended through the end of the school year, prohibiting the annual second grade visits to the museum. Donnelly did most of the writing, shooting and editing of the six videos.
According to museum director Leslie Pielack, the annual school tours of the Hunter House are based on the required Michigan curriculum guidelines for the second grade. Museum staff have worked with William Pugh, coordinator of Professional Learning and Curriculum Teaching & Learning for Birmingham Public Schools, for several years to integrate the tour content with Michigan’s standards.
“An important part of our social studies curriculum is understanding the story of why our community was established and how it has had to change over time,” Pugh said. “The Birmingham Museum is an amazing resource that our second grade students have enjoyed visiting each year to learn more about their community and its history.”
“We think viewers of all ages will appreciate the tour videos with vintage photos and maps,” Donnelly said. “They’re really all family-friendly. We kept them to about eight minutes or so, highlighting the key history elements as creatively as possible. But Bella is like the irresistible frosting on the cake. She makes it special.”
The six-part video series is available at the museum’s YouTube channel, is fully captioned, and free to use (youtube.com). However, the museum is also welcoming donations toward their video programming and offers a new online option for those who wish to do so. Interested donors can check it out here: bhamgov.wufoo.com