Calvert Library Selected to Create a Project for the Smithsonian’s Stories from Main Street: Youth Engagement Skill-building Program

October 10, 2018

Calvert Library announced today that it has been selected to create a project for the Smithsonian’s Stories from Main Street: Youth Engagement Skill-building Program (Stories: YES). The program is a collaboration between youth, the library and other community resources to develop local stories around the theme of the Smithsonian Museum on Main Street exhibition “Water/Ways,” which Calvert Library was selected to host in January, 2020. A sneak peek of “Water/Ways” can be accessed at http://bit.ly/WaterWaysPeek.

Stories: YES participants weave national narratives from the exhibition into the history of their own community by conducting research and interviews to create a documentary highlighting their community’s relationship to water. The program engages teens with regional history and contemporary local issues, while providing an opportunity to use professional equipment and learn real-world skills. Youth projects will be displayed locally and their digital stories will be shared on Museum on Main Street’s website at https://museumonmainstreet.org/. Calvert Library will keep the equipment purchased through the program and continue to make it available for student access.

Calvert Library will host several events and workshops to support the students’ work.  Interested teens are encouraged to visit the library website or call to register for the first event, “Step 1 to Creating a Documentary,” a class and resource fair at Calvert Library Prince Frederick on Saturday, October 27, 2:30-4:30pm.  There will be a short workshop on developing your question and beginning your research followed by an opportunity to meet with representatives from water-related subject-matter experts from Jefferson Patterson Park, Calvert Marine Museum, American Chestnut Land Trust, Chesapeake Biological Lab and Bayside History Museum.  Rachelle Green, acting Director of Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum said, “We are excited to partner with Calvert Library and MD Humanities for the Maryland H2O initiative which includes the Smithsonian H2O Today exhibit at the Park.  In addition to the exhibit through 2020, we have 2.5 miles of shoreline along the Patuxent River and primary research opportunities at the MAC Lab as well as local and regional scholarly works on-site – perfect for documentary research and video footage!  We look forward to working with students on their documentary projects!”

Michelle Stover, English Core Lead at Calvert High School, has already committed one of her classes to the project.  Public Relations Coordinator for Calvert Library Robyn Truslow said, “Calvert County Public Schools have been excellent partners for high return-on-investment projects such as student library cards, statewide read projects that bring big authors to the schools, and early literacy initiatives to improve Kindergarten readiness. Kim Watts, Jen Sturge, Cecilia Lewis, Steve Van Rees, and Mrs. Stover have all seen the tie-in to the curriculum and the excellent opportunity for students. Their enthusiasm is contagious!”  Kim Watts, Supervisor of Secondary English Language Arts and coordinator of the Calvert Writes! initiative said, “The student-driven inquiry and diversified writing attached to this project, coupled with the digital art integration, provide a real-world writing and publishing experience that is completely aligned to the mission and vision of Calvert Writes!  What an exciting opportunity to engage even more of our innovative, creative students!”

Calvert Library Director said, “Getting the exhibition was a coup and it’s even more gratifying to offer the opportunity to Calvert students to gain media production skills and help us connect exhibition visitors to our local water story.  Imagine being a teen who contributed to a Smithsonian exhibit! What a great story for a college entrance essay!”

A second class is scheduled for Tuesday, November 27, 6:30pm at Calvert Library Prince Frederick to give the students some tips on crafting their story and creating a storyboard. Students will work on their projects so should bring their research and story ideas.  Funding for Stories: YES is generously provided to Museum on Main Street (MoMS) with internal Smithsonian Institution support from the Smithsonian Youth Access Grants Program. MoMS is a partnership between the Smithsonian institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and state humanities councils. It was created to serve museums, libraries and historical societies in rural areas, where one-fifth of all Americans live. SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for over 65 years. It connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play.

For more information, call Robyn Truslow at 410-535-0291.

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