Library history crates encourage educational exploration

Published 4:55 pm Friday, August 23, 2019


Library patrons Meredith and Norah Bailey show off some of the items from inside the history crate at the Boyle County Public Library. (Photo contributed)

Press release

The Boyle County Public Library has a number of types of media available for check out, from traditional books and magazines to eBooks and Launch Pads (available in the Children’s department). One of the more unique items available for check out is a “history crate,” a hands-on learning tool for elementary-age students.

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The history crates were made possible by a grant from the Hudson Ellis Fund at the Bluegrass Community Foundation and developed through the library. Inspired by The Louisville Speed Museum’s Art Detectives project, the crates contain historic objects combined with educational materials. Types of objects include glass electrical insulators, old newspapers and candle molds. The educational materials were prepared by Julie Rodes and shaped by both the national and state education standards.

The bright yellow crates contain: artifacts, gloves, magnifying glasses, and mats; folders containing primary and secondary source information about each artifact; handouts (templates provided); and pencils. While wearing gloves, students can hold and examine objects from our local history. They can make observations about an object, review the research materials provided, and make hypotheses about the primary purpose of the object, how it fits into the history of technology and how it fits into the history of our area.

The crates are appropriate for third- through fifth-graders for classes lasting about an hour. Because one of the goals of the history crate project is to encourage student collaboration, one crate can serve from two to 25 students. The overarching goal of the crates is for students to gain a greater understanding of their community history through its artifacts and to learn ways to interpret meaning from them. The artifacts in the history crates are also intended to foster observational skills, higher level questioning, and problem solving skills as students seek to uncover information about Boyle County’s past.

At the end of the day, if students are instilled with a curiosity or “thirst for knowledge” about our history then we have succeeded in equipping them with a set of tools to help with their personal ongoing investigations.

There are two history crates available for check out. While the crates are targeted to educators, anyone with an interest in history can check them out with a valid library card at the front circulation desk for a period of two weeks. There are no renewals. All the materials needed for instruction are in the crate, including worksheets. When finished exploring the crate, pack it all up and return it to the front desk at the library.