Students pitched mobile museum designs to Montgomery County educators

Students show their mobile museum design
Students show their mobile museum design.

Students in Design 205 at Radford University embraced the local history of the Christiansburg Institute in their mobile museum concept designs for Montgomery County K-12 educators on Feb. 7.

Superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools Mark Miear, Director for Student Services Judy Diggs and Administrator of Social Studies Curriculum David Dickinson came to campus to see the concepts first-hand.

The Christiansburg Institute was founded by Capt. Charles S. Schaeffer, a Union soldier, to provide an education for recently freed slaves following the Civil War. In 1896, Booker T. Washington, founder of the Tuskegee Institute, became an advisor to the school. The Christiansburg Institute educated African American students from fifteen surrounding counties until 1966, when local schools were integrated.

Montgomery County is looking to honor the service of these educators by creating a mobile museum that will visit the county’s K-12 students. The mobile museum will be located inside of a repurposed school bus.

Each of the five presentation groups designed a concept of an interior exhibit as well as a life-size display.

“They are really proud of what they were able to do,” said Joan Dickinson, interior design professor.

Students show their mobile museum designs
Students show their mobile museum design.

The first group to present said that their concept follows a distinct timeline, taking each student through the history of the Christiansburg Institute and what it accomplished. The group used color palates to signal what exhibit embodied.

“The red section is the power section,” the group said. “It has the most interactive displays. The final section is a time to think about what they learned. We hope teachers would further discuss the museum in their classrooms.”

The final section has interactive materials, including coloring pages, interactive sheets and other materials for continued education on the Christiansburg museum after the students view the exhibit.

Another group did research on how students of the different eras learned and compared it to how students learn today.

“We looked into the different styles of learning and made sure to incorporate each style of learning into the design,” the group said. “No matter who steps on the bus or what age they are, they will be able to take something away from the museum.”

Feb 16, 2018
Max Esterhuizen