Students at Newman University get the benefit of many hands-on learning opportunities. Perhaps that’s no more evident than with those in Professor Cheryl Golden’s history courses, who’ve had the chance to conduct original research at the Museum of World Treasures in Wichita.
This past October, students conducted condition analyses of the ancient Egyptian collection at the museum. Museum staff opened up the exhibit’s cases, and students got to examine each artifact for their research.
Not only do students have the advantage of conducting real-world research at a museum, but they’re also aiding museum staff.
“Our students are doing the kind of research that these [museum] folks oftentimes just don’t have the time to do,” Golden said. “They also get to do a little independent research trying to figure out what is this artifact, and where is it from?”
The students’ condition reports are added to the museum’s official records.
“It’s actually helpful to the museum to help them update their records,” Golden said.
She explained that Newman’s relationship with the Museum of World Treasures started about 15 years ago when the collections manager hoped the university could provide some student interns. Today, Newman alumna Kristin Martin is the museum’s marketing director, helping to further the partnership.
“She is a museum professional who has come from Newman and is mentoring our students, trying to tell them best practices in dealing with artifacts from the ancient world,” Golden said. “And of course, some of these are 5,000 years old, so we’re very lucky that she could find the time to let our students come and do this kind of research.”
Tanya Triana, a business major who’s part of Golden’s “Legends and Heroes” course, was one of the students who worked on the museum research project.
“It actually makes [class] a lot more exciting,” Triana said of the experience. “It’s a lot more hands-on and makes you more excited to write a report, because instead of just writing a report on something you’ve never seen, you’re writing a report on something you’ve gotten to touch and feel and look at.”
Shawn Marquis, a junior student in Golden’s ancient world history class, added, “It’s one thing to talk about it and think about all these old artifacts and how they were used. But I actually get to see them and how well they’ve been preserved through history and how somebody at some point long ago actually had the knowledge to save these things. It’s impressive to me, and I think it helps with grasping the whole idea of history.”
Marquis is a history major who hopes to one day teach the subject, so the hands-on experience benefits his future goals as well.
“I think it gives a great example of a fun thing to do for the class or a way to keep students engaged, but it’s also an experience that I will get to tell my students about someday — how I got to actually touch some things that were really incredible,” he said.
Brad Nuest, the education manager at the Museum of World Treasures, summed up the benefit of this experience for Newman students.
“If they want to go into any kind of career in the museum field, this is a great hands-on, practical, real experience,” he said.
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