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8/10/2008 9:47:00 PM
Docents get training for water, history programs at museum
Jo.L.Keener/The Daily Courier
Edessa Carr, program coordinator, displays a section of an old water pipe at Sharlot Hall Museum Wednesday morning. Sharlot Hall Museum is hosting a water exhibit throughout the coming school year in which area school children will get hands-on experience and participate in the exhibit. The docents for the exhibit are training to teach the children about Arizona water issues.
Jo.L.Keener/The Daily Courier
Edessa Carr, program coordinator, displays a section of an old water pipe at Sharlot Hall Museum Wednesday morning. Sharlot Hall Museum is hosting a water exhibit throughout the coming school year in which area school children will get hands-on experience and participate in the exhibit. The docents for the exhibit are training to teach the children about Arizona water issues.
Paula Rhoden
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - The key to successful educational exhibits at Sharlot Hall Museum are its docents. Currently, museum and University of Arizona Cooperative Extension are training docents, volunteer instructors, for the exhibit "Water: Quest for the Solution."

This past Wednesday, eight volunteers met at Sharlot Hall to begin their docent training for the new water exhibit.

The exhibit, part of Arizona Wet, is a program for school children in grades three though six. The object is to teach children the history of water in Arizona and the water challenges people face today and will face in the future.

UofA Cooperative Extension Program Coordinator Edessa Carr said her office would schedule the docents, while Sharlot Hall would schedule the school visits. Teachers can schedule field trips to water exhibit on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays through April 2009.

Carr said students would have two classroom lessons before visiting the exhibit and two additional lessons after their visit. The two-and-a-half-hour visit to the water exhibit and activities correlate to Arizona science standards.

The docents will lead the students through four, 25-minute science-based activities, including the Water History Truck, Branching Out, Animal and Plant Adaptation and Puzzling Over Water.

"Docents often volunteer because they are interested in the subject and want to learn more," Carr said.

For volunteer Norm Delucchi, it is most about the students.

Delucchi has volunteered at Sharlot Hall for the past four years.

"I am very involved in the fourth-grade tour program. It is a lot of fun taking the students from station to station. The students are very inquisitive," he said.

Delucchi said when museum officials started talking about the water exhibit, he felt the same enthusiasm he has for the fourth-grade program and he thinks the students will have the same enthusiasm.

"My 'thing' is history, but more along the lines transportation," Delucchi said.

Sharlot Hall officials also are looking for docents for an interactive hands-on history program focusing on fourth-grade students.

Assistant Curator of Education Gretchen Guice said the museum welcomes more than 2,000 children from as far away as California during the school year. She said the students visit Prescott to learn about Territorial Arizona and the founding of the state's first capital.

The museum recently received a grant to buy hands-on historical artifacts to complement the new fourth-grade tour program.

During the past year, Guice and volunteer Lori Brandman, a UofA education coordinator, have created a curriculum better suited to meet the Arizona history requirements for fourth-grade students. The new program features real people from the past and fun activities with artifacts that teach abstract concepts in a meaningful way.

Guice said volunteers have the option of specializing in one area of interest the tour features and can integrate into the program with minimal training.

Docents do not have to have a teaching background, just a love of working with students.

Guice said docent classes would begin on Tuesday, Sept. 16, in the Sharlot Hall Museum Center Gallery. Carr will conduct additional water program docent training on Sept. 4.

For more information about either program, contact Carr at 445-6590, ext. 227 or edessa@cals.arizona.edu; or Guice at 445-3122, ext.19 or Gretchen@sharlot.org.

Contact the reporter at prhoden@prescottaz.com

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