More to the Story with Staley: The Living Museum

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — What do Babe Ruth, Dolly Parton, Abe Lincoln and a West African ruler all have in common?

In a sense, they all were in Chattanooga this week!

It’s the gymnasium at OLPH. For the past three years, it’s become an annual event for the 6th graders at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

The “Living Museum.”

Students lining the sidelines, dressed up as historical figures. Talking to Parents and other students.

OLPH teacher and longtime Hamilton County educator Lindy Blazek came up with the idea. Wanting her kids to write a research paper, and then…

“So I tied the research paper into a biography. Everybody is doing a different character. It just makes it more interesting,” Blazek said. “I have them do this museum. They dress and talk like their character. We just have a lot of fun with it!”

Here’s how it works: Parents or other students walk on up to the characters in their little area, step on the cutout and that character will give you a little of their history.

Want Abraham Lincoln? He’s here. How about hockey great Wayne Gretzky? Sure. Staying with sports, NBA great Steve Nash? Yes sir.

Even Mansa Mussa, a 14th century West African ruler. Frankly, I didn’t even know about this guy.

Pretty impressive, even to the parents!

“I think it’s great the kids can dive into something they find interesting. And do their own research and then take responsibility,” said parent Bri Hall. “They’re looking into the lives of interesting people.”

“I think it’s fun for them! And it’s fun for us! I think it brings in the aspect of them doing research and finding the props,” another parent, Whitney Pierce said. “It’s so much fun. And we love watching it!”

The kids get to pick their own person. The only rule is that the historical figure must have a published, written biography.

Lindy Blazek says it’s a great way to learn. And a perfect way to teach the art of public speaking.

“Lots of kids these days don’t know how to talk to people. They don’t make eye contact. It’s important they learn to speak to people. It’s all part of public speaking,” Blazek added.

Blazek says the kids are nervous when they first start the day. But in the end, she says they “have a blast!”

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