We discussed the power of artifacts to draw student interest, and this recent article in the UNH Magazine (Winter 2013) shows a powerful and sustainable model. Through a combination of narrative and research-driven facts, the article outlines an exhibit that is much more than a static member of the "moth ball fleet." The dresses were originally collected to be used as hands-on models for student seamstresses. Today, they are a study in late 1800's society and enough has been documented about items in the collection that we can start to piece together some of the individual personality of the dress wearers. The article is posted as a .pdf in our Resources section.

There are so many directions this article excites thought - the first that comes to mind is the idea of having students bring one article of clothing that represents something about themselves, their experiences, their hopes and use it as a springboard into discussion and connections with character analysis (literature) or development (composition). Social Studies connections abound here, as well. What do durable styles and trends say about a people? How does clothing so carefully match economic and social status? What do the personal artifacts left behind say about what a culture valued - and which of your valued artifacts will exist in a hundred years, from which others may try to figure you out?

This article points out something bigger than the grabber-level attention-getting school scenario. The work involved is bigger than the exhibit; it's bigger than the students who get involved one way or another each term. By collecting, studying, and making these artifacts accessible to students of all walks, the leaders mentioned in Harrigan's article are part of a sustainable effort. There is material, interest, momentum, and significance to their work. Keeping the material relevant to today's scholars helps keep the "curriculum" related to the "clothes" lifeted up to a sustainable level. When we consider sustainable curriculum and sustainable culture, this is the sort of durability that makes a powerful model
                                                                                                                                          Amanda Eason,
 


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