By knowing our past, we are better equipped to confront the issues of the present, strengthen our purpose in the world and build a better future.
In response to the swift pivot to online learning, the National Museum of Bermuda (NMB) has collaborated with the Department of Education to develop two e-book units for our teachers and students: The History of Tourism in Bermuda and The Transatlantic Slave Trade. Both have student and teacher editions, are aligned with curriculum and involve a series of investigations to challenge critical thinking and encourage reflection on how the past affects the present.
On June 4th, the NMB hosted a Professional Development webinar for local educators. Designed to specifically unpack the e-book on the transatlantic slave trade, the webinar attracted over 65 people, a diverse audience of educators from various levels and schools, plus interested community members.
The 60-minute session, moderated by Lisa Howie, NMB Director of Learning & Engagement, included a panel of speakers, all of whom contributed to the e-book: Deborah Atwood, NMB Curator; Nicole Grant, Department of Education Social Studies Officer; Dr. Janet Ferguson, NMB Education Committee Chair; Dr. Clarence Maxwell, History Professor at Millersville University and NMB Education Committee member.
Participants reviewed NMB’s robust online library of resources available at www.nmb.bm, which includes information on the Museum’s collection, exhibits, blog articles, research, and more. Dr. Maxwell spoke briefly about the origins, meanings, and societies of slavery, which developed a contextual understanding of the e-book. Dr. Ferguson explained the matrix that underpins the method of instruction and assessment for the e-book, a matrix that many participants indicated could be useful for their planning. Nicole Grant endorsed the e-book, as it involves investigations of artefacts, personal reflections, and creative responses in order to develop critical analysis and empathetic responses to the sensitive topic of enslavement.
The impact of the webinar is best summed up in this anonymous reflection:
“I want to know more. My feelings are that there is so much that students need to know within the narrative of slavery and history in Bermuda. Without this, progress to a truly equal Bermuda is almost impossible.”
The NMB is grateful for the community’s interest in and support of the Museum’s educational intention: By knowing our past, we are better equipped to confront the issues of the present, strengthen our purpose in the world and build a better future.