Historical Society receives grant for school-museum partnership

Fifth-grade junior docents ask fellow students questions about Bush-Holley House and its history as part of inquiry-based interpretation.

Fifth-grade junior docents ask fellow students questions about Bush-Holley House and its history as part of inquiry-based interpretation.histori


Of the many visitors to CT Open House Day at the Greenwich Historical Society this past June, at least two young visitors from Hamilton Avenue Magnet School already knew their way around Bush-Holley Historic Site and were bursting their buttons to show their families.

They were some of the 286 students from Hamilton Avenue Magnet School who visited the Greenwich Historical Society as a result of a grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation (FCCF) in support of the Hamilton Avenue School-Museum partnership.

This year’s grant of $5,000 awarded to the Greenwich Historical Society by the FCCF in June will continue to defray the cost of Hamilton Avenue student visits to the Historical Society during the 2014/15 school year. It will also enable the society to arrange for working artists and educators to conduct classroom workshops at Hamilton Avenue School that explore topics touched upon during site tours.

The program exposes children in all grades to the enjoyment and creation of art and aims to build a foundation for life-long learning and appreciation of local history. For many students, Bush-Holley House is the first museum they have ever visited, and learning about its place in Greenwich history helps connect them with the community.

The culmination of each school year’s program is a June reception for friends and families that features an exhibition of remarkable self-portraits painted by fourth graders and elaborate class quilts illustrating memories of Bush-Holley House made up of panels created by third graders. As parents, siblings and grandparents peruse the artwork lining the walls of the Vanderbilt Education Center, proud students point out their creations and discuss the merits of each other’s works of art.

Fifth-grade junior docents, trained in inquiry-based interpretation, lead tours of Bush-Holley House throughout the evening. In fact, by the time students reach the fifth grade, most are very much at home on the site and eager to talk about their favorite rooms and works of art. The Fairfield County Community Foundation promotes the growth of community and regional philanthropy to improve the quality of life throughout Fairfield County. The foundation also provides philanthropic advisory services, and develops and leads initiatives to tackle critical community issues.The foundation has awarded more than $168 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond. For more information, visit Fccfoundation.org.

To learn more about the Greenwich Historical Society, visit Greenwichhistory.org.

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