News release from the History Center:
History Center growing field trip attendance at museum
While many museums and other educational and cultural venues have seen a decline in numbers by school groups, Fort Wayne’s History Center has seen growth in the past few years thanks to the Heritage Education Fund (HEF).
This year’s fund drive kicked off March 4.
Having just finished its 10th year raising a record $130,218, all from local individuals, foundations and companies, HEF has allowed the History Center to achieve “eight consecutive years of the highest school group attendances since the museum opened in 1980, and on track for another banner school year for 2012-2013,” said Todd Maxwell Pelfrey, executive director.
Over 200 school groups have attended in each of the past three school years.
HEF offers free tours of the History Center to all Kindergarten through 12th grade students in Allen, DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble and Steuben Counties, coupled with an orientation video and hands-on presentation of some artifacts by the museum’s education coordinator. As the students explore the museum, a guidebook to aid teachers and chaperones in helping students learn the highlights of our region’s history is provided and also offers a coupon for a free return visit for the student.
“Educational experiences at the History Center produce students that have a greater knowledge of local and state history in the short term and a deeper appreciation of their community in the long term,” Pelfrey said.
“Studies in other states working on a revamp of their social studies curriculums show fewer than one in four students are proficient in American history. Visiting museums provides children with a better understanding of the world around them and the History Center is a proven contributor to a successful elementary Social Studies curriculum. A recent study showed that classes that visited the History Center averaged an 18.8% higher rate of passing the Social Studies portion of the ISTEP+.”
Educators wishing to book a free tour for their students should contact Nicole Griffetts, education coordinator, at 260-426-2882 ext 309.
This fall saw the opening of a new permanent exhibition gallery in the museum entitled “Allen County Innovation,” which helps students to learn about the many important ideas and the resultant discoveries that have been generated in this county.
For more information, contact the History Center at (260) 426-2882 or visit the website at www.fwhistorycenter.com.