The Project's Impact
Participants gained communication skills in many different ways - orally, in print and visually. Staff and contract specialists worked with students, introducing them to exhibit design, archives research and Internet page design and applications.
"I Do, I Do" was a significant collaboration for the Heritage Complex and Muslim Community Services. It confirmed that language education and cultural literacy go hand in hand, especially in an area, such as the Peel Region, which has a large percentage of newcomers. Hopefully, the participants gained confidence in their language skills and feel that they made a vital contribution to a local cultural organization that values their input and experience.
The "Reading The Museum" program was active on many fronts during this past six months. Six demonstration projects were completed and three projects are in progress.
Work continues on the video about the "Reading The Museum" program by filmmakers Tim Schwab and Chris Craton of First Light Films. Tim presented an excerpt at the session on literacy at the annual CMA conference in Toronto in April which featured learners from the New Brunswick Museum project. The final shoot for the video will take place in Edmonton in June. Chris is especially looking forward to it based on her initial trip in February. "Edmonton was especially inspirational. We got to meet two different groups of women who took part in Reading the Museum projects and their enthusiasm was contagious. These women showed such confidence and motivation. There is no doubt in my mind that a large part of that growing confidence lies in their success with the book projects. We even had the pleasure of getting some of the participants to sign the books they have written - not something I had anticipated in a literacy project!"
Learners and teachers from the Peel Heritage Complex -Muslim Community Services project also spoke at the CMA conference session about their experiences of working with artifacts and texts from their exhibition "I Do, I Do".
I am delighted to report thatJulie Cormier and Helen Frigault, who participated in the New Brunswick Museum project, read stories about their experiences in the museum at the 1st Montreal Literary Festival on April 23. They also participated in a workshop on community writing at the festival along with their tutor, Brenda Jarvis, of Read SaintJohn the project's literacy partner. "Hear Are Your Roots", the 1998 literacy project of the Fraser-Fort George Museum in Prince George, British Columbia also gained recognition by receiving a nomination for a combating racism award.
Finally, in addition to its own publication activities, there are articles and reports about the work of the "Reading The Museum" program in various journals, magazines and anthologies. The most recent article is "Literacy and Visual Culture in Three Art Gallery Settings" which appears in Beyond The School: Case Studies of Community and Institutional Partnerships in Art Education, edited by R L. Irwin and A. M. Kindler and published by the National Art Education Association.