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Penobscot Marine Museum Education Resource Wins Award
May 17, 2007 - 8:43:19 PM

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SEARSPORT -- Penobscot Marine Museum is pleased to announce that the museum's newly completed education guidebook for teachers, MATES, has won first place in the Educational Materials Division of the New England Museum Association's publications contest. Second place was awarded to the Museum of Science in Boston.

Completed in December 2006, MATES is one part of a grant funded education project that will help students and teachers in Maine access the museum's resources. The project promotes teaching and learning about the maritime heritage of Maine and the Penobscot Bay region, and relates the museum's collections to all content areas of the state Learning Results at the Performance Indicator level.

The project, which took over two years to complete, was funded primarily by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in Washington, DC, with assistance from the Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust, the King and Jean Cummings Fund of the Maine Community Foundation, and MBNA. It resulted in two products, both of which are now available to schools:

M.A.T.E.S. - Museum and Teachers Educating Students - Addressing Maine's Learning Results Using the Collections of Penobscot Marine Museum
M.A.T.E.S. - Museum and Teachers Educating Students - Addressing Maine's Learning Results Using the Collections of Penobscot Marine Museum

This 140-page book introduces nine units that present the scope and sequence of material offered by the museum. Topics include Life at Sea, Maritime Communities, Shipbuilding, Working the Bay, Our Maine Ancestors, Marine Art, Navigation, Maine and the Orient, and Fisheries. Each unit has an outline, lists of related Performance Indicators for the four grade groupings, suggested activities for each grade grouping, and an extensive resource list. Teachers can use this book to view the breadth of museum resources, to get ideas for integrating the museum into many curriculum areas, to focus on specific projects related to maritime history, and to find other resources for more in-depth study. They can use the Performance Indicator lists to structure and justify a trip to the museum or a museum staff member's visit to their classroom. M.A.T.E.S. is being distributed to school libraries, curriculum coordinators, and interested teachers.

The second product is a dedicated education website:

The site presents the same nine units, adding content to the M.A.T.E.S. outlines to create narratives on each topic. Narratives are illustrated with images of the museum's artifacts, photographs, and manuscripts, as well as appropriate images from other sources with permission. In addition to the units of study, the website offers a searchable collections database that allows users to look up more images and descriptions related to a particular topic; a glossary for learning vocabulary; and special features. One special feature is the journal of a 16 year old boy from Belfast, Maine, who sailed to California and back in 1866. His journal gives a picture of life aboard a square-rigger. Scans of the journal pages are presented with typescripts alongside for easier reading.

All the Learning Results, activities, and resources provided in M.A.T.E.S. are also available on the website, in Word format and as PDFs. Websites cited as resources are live links on our site, and other live links are provided in the narratives. We want our website to provide quality background information on our nine topics, and to act as a portal to help students access additional sources.

PMM's goal is to offer a diverse, year-long spectrum of educational possibilities for schools. During the winter, when the museum is closed, classes may still come for specific activities, research, and some exhibits. With the general background offered on the web, teachers may find more directed ways to use the museum for research and hands-on activities related to specific topics. The technology of the web offers many new possibilities, and the staff at PMM encourages teachers to call to discuss ideas.

The museum will continue to add to the database, and expand other features as well. As teachers begin to use the website, they are invited to send their comments to Betty Schopmeyer, Education Coordinator at Penobscot Marine Museum, at This address also may be used to request a copy of M.A.T.E.S. or to talk about a museum visit or project.

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