Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

commission appointed Supt. G. V. Buchanan, of Sedalia, late in August, 1903. He at once began a series of visits to the county teachers' associations, which were held in the different counties through the fall and early winter, and with his assistants in the work presented the interests of the exhibit personally to about 10,000 teachers. Correspondence was then opened with the 114 county commissioners and county superintendents, with many city superintendents, and with teachers and school patrons who had been found to be enthusiastic for the exhibit. A systematic effort was made to secure exhibits from all the counties of the State-not from the city schools alone, but from village and rural schools as well. A circular outlining the scope and nature of the exhibit and giving general directions and suggestions about the preparation of the work was mailed to every teacher in the State. General interest was awakened, and it was apparent that the teachers of the State were ambitious to have the schools well represented in the exposition. In November the superintendent opened an office on the exposition grounds and conducted a vigorous canvass of the State by personal letters. Late in February the exhibits began to come in. He appointed as his assistants in arranging and maintaining the exhibit the following teachers: Miss Minnie Brashear, of Kirksville; Miss Catherine Cranmer, of Otterville; Miss Emma Serl, of Kansas City; Miss Mae Hansel, of Joplin, and Miss Jennie Hinkston, of Gower. The packages were opened and their contents examined and arranged in Blair Hall of the Missouri building, and as soon as our exhibit booth was ready the cabinets and bound volumes were put into place.

The Missouri exbibit was arranged by grades, or years' work, with a view of showing the prevailing system in this State, which separates the course of public school education into twelve years' work. Our entire floor space was surrounded by an arched façade 12 feet high, with an arch 18 feet wide constituting the front entrance. Each side of the inclosure consisted of ten similar arches. The oak cabinets containing the work of the children were so placed as to leave a central aisle 7 feet wide extending from front to rear of our space, and to divide the area into 20 compartments with side partitions 8 feet high, each compartment opening at one end upon the central aisle and the other looking out upon the broad aisle of the building through these arches, with a hand rail below. This arrangement gave 20 compartments, somewhat separated, in which to arrange the school work, all comparatively open, so that their entire contents were visible from the broad aisles on either side and from the 7-foot aisle through our own space.

While the kindergarten is no part of the public school system of the State, not being provided for by law, yet it is so generally regarded as a desirable beginning for all classes of children that it was decided to give it such position in the exhibit. From the twelfth grade, or senior year of the high school, down, each grade was allotted a separate compartment as far as the third ; grades 3 and 2 occupied their proper sides of one compartment, and grade 1 and the kindergarten took sinilar positions in the lowest compartment. The compartments not occupied by the primary and secondary schools were assigned to the State normal schools and to the various colleges of the State. One side of one compartment, however, was reserved for the exhibits of special rural schools and an entire compartment for the exhibits of the negro schools of the State.

The façade, or arched wall, surrounding the State exhibit was of old English oak in modified Romanesque style of architecture, the same as used by the city of St. Louis just across the aisle, which was designed by Superintendent F. Louis Soldan, of that city. Mr. Ittuer, bead architect of the St. Louis school

board, gave this unique design its pleasing reality. The arches were supported by ample pillars, which offered abundant space for broad panels and large disks, into which pictures could be placed. The spandrels of the arches also invited the use of disks for pictures. To enable the façade to help tell the visitors the nature of the contents of the various compartments, transparent mosaics over the middle of the arches told the grades or named the colleges whose exhibits were within, and large panels and disks in the outer faces and smaller panels in the lateral faces of the pillars, and circular disks in the spandrels of the arches contained transparencies of school buildings, games, and faces appropriate to the grade of work.. For example, as you stood in front of the compartment occupied by the exhibits from special rural schools you saw in glowing mosaics, above the center of the arch, Special Rural Schools.” In the broad panel on the side of the pillar supporting one side of the arch you saw the transparency of a Missouri rural schoolhouse of the better class. In the 16-inch disk just above this was a transparent picture of a country school playground alive with lusty boys and merry girls, just as caught by the camera in one of our rural districts. On the lateral face of the same pillar were arranged five 8 by 10 transparencies of country school children engaged in various sports, games, and class exercises. The spandrel above one disk showed a typical country lad returning from school, with his bookstrap thrown across his shoulder. Looking in upon the compartment from the same spandrel another disk contained a typical country school girl. In the compartinent occupied by the Kirksville Normal School the name of the school stood out above the arch in illuminated mosaics. The large panel on the outside of the pillar contained the main view of the campus and buildings of the school. The lateral faces of the pillar contained transparencies of primary rooms, classes in the normal department, laboratory, and gymnasium scenes, and classes surveying and studying botany on the campus. On the spandrels of the arch the faces of two girls and two boys, selected as representative students of the different classes in the school, looked down upon the visitor.

In this same manner did each compartment suggest to the thoughtful student or the casual observer the nature of the work it contained.

Aside from the 300 transparencies of Missouri schoolhouses, school children, games, and recitations, the façade also presented the faces of 40 of the leading educators of the State, past and present, as selected by a committee of five of the best-known Missouri educators.

Within the compartments the work was chiefly arranged in bound volumes, base cabinets, and wing-frame cabinets, or filed in the portfolio drawers, or hung up on the 8-foot partitions.

Of the volumes there were nearly 500, of about 600 pages each, containing most of the written work and free-hand drawings of about 100,000 children, representing nearly 5,000 different schoolrooms in 80 counties of the State. These volumes were handsomely bound in red English cloth, with backs and tips in russia leather and with gilt lettering. In each grade compartment the papers were arranged by branches, and the order of contents of the volumes was by counties, comprised by the initials on the backs. Each volume was indexed, showing the location of work from the various districts within the counties. This arrangement facilitated the finding of work of individuals or schools. The work of any pupil in any branch of study could be found within a minute if his name and grade and the names of his county and teacher were known. We estimate that the work of about 60,000 pupils was found for visitors within the life of the exposition. On the shelves and within the showcase tops of the base cabinets, of which we used 139, various articles were shown, such as raffia work, clay modeling, pottery, needlework, wood carving, etc.

Within the portfolio drawers were maps, charts, drawings, etc.

The wing-frame cabinets, numbering nearly a hundred, contained a variety of work, such as essays, exan ination and test papers, drawings, and water colors.

On the walls were hung framed pictures of half a hundred of Missouri's excellent school buildings of rural, village, and city types, drawings, photographs, charts, relief maps, and the like.

The arrangement for exhibiting manual-training work of the various grades was peculiar to this exhibit. End cases with glass fronts were made to order of the same material as the cabinets and set at the entrance to the different compartments. Each was filled with such manual-training work as seemed to be best representative of all the manual work sent from schools of the particular grade. Thus the manual-training work of each grade was set beside the general exhibits of that grade. When the work was completed it was easy to see that the manual work of the children, like their penmanship, began with larger and coarser forms and gradually grew finer and neater to about the seventh grade. From there on through the high school the work grew less delicate and less exact and painstaking. This decline in neatness and exactness in the high school did not seem to appear in those schools which give full courses and systematic work in manual training.

The most attractive feature of the exhibit rere two graphophones, which recited lessons and sang songs learned from the children in the schools, and seven biogens, or large mutoscopes, slowing the physical culture of the schools from the kindergarten to the State normal schools. Groups of people constantly formed about these machines watching the simple movements of the little chil. dren, the free-arm exercises of the elementary grades, the dumb-bell and Indianclub drills of the grammar grades, and the gymnasium exercises of the ligh school pupils, which were almost as realistic as if the visitor had been standing in the room where the drills were in progress.

All the recitations, drills, and exercises were from Missouri schoolrooms, and so arranged as to show a system of derelopment. One of the most valuable of our educational exhibits, perhaps, was the Missouri model rural schoolhouse, which was located in a beautiful grove near the Fine Arts Building. This house consisted of a model schoolroom 23 by 29 feet, with cloak rooms and toilet rooms for boys and girls, and a basement for furnace, fuel, and work bench. The expense of the building was limited to $1,200, and it was the desire of the commission to show that every convenience and comfort of a modern city schoolroom may be enjoyed by any country district at an espense of not more than $100 over what is usually put into the common and inconvenient form of country schoolhouses. This model schoolroom was lighted from one side, the light coming to the children from their left, was heated by fresh warm air, ideally ventilated, and bad as good toilet accommodations as are on the market. The water used came from a cistern at the side of the building and was carried up by a band force pump and air-pressure tank.

This schoolroom was equipped with all necessary school appliances and had an experienced rural teacher ready to welcome visitors and explain the rarious features of the building.

Two thousand copies of the plans and specifications of this building were published in neat pamphlet form for distribution among the rural school directors of the State.

The total expense of the educational exhibit of this State was slightly more than $100,000. The part for which the State commission was responsible cost about $ 733,000. The general exhibit of the State, not including the city of St. Louis and the four universities, cost about $10,000.

Aside from the exhibits of the public schools of the State were those of the

following institutions: The Kirksville State Normal School; Cape Girardeau State Normal School; Missouri Valley College, at Marshall; Central College, at Fayette ; Lexington Female College ; Westminster College, at Fulton; HowardPayne College, at Fayette; Drury College, at Springfield; Central Wesleyan College, at Warrenton; Liberty Ladies' College; William Jewel College, at Liberty; Christian College, at Columbia ; Park College, at Parkville; Harden College; St. Cecilia Seminary, and Loretto Academy.

NEBRASKA.

BY ERWIN WINCKLEY BARDOUR.

TIIE EXHIBIT.

Shortly after the appointment of a director (or superintendent) of education by the Nebraska State commission to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, cireular letters were addressed to nearly 10,000 schoolmen and schoolwomen of Nebraska. Through the courtesy of Mr. W. K. Fowler, State superintendent of public instruction, the mailing list was made up from his corrected manuscript list of the schools and teachers of the State, both public and private.

Later developments showed that circular letters were insufficient for the purpose and that considerable apathy existed, which had to be overcome by personal appeal. Because of the small legislative appropriation the commission found it necessary to limit the amount for educational exhibits to $1,250. This sum was made to cover all costs of installing and maintaining not only the educational booth proper, but also two classes and teachers from the school for the deaf and a booth in mines and metallurgy. It has been said, and it is doubtless true, that no other similar educational exhibit was prepared and maintained at less cost.

The architectural plans of the booth were prepared by Mr. Thomas Kimball, of Omaha, and consisted essentially of a plain four-column facade in white, suitably decorated with symbols of education, and with the great seal of the State and of the University of Nebraska in relief. Wide counters with curtained shelves beneath extended around the three walls, with two large tables and wings projecting from each of the two side walls. The color scheme was a subdued green, and all the draperies, furniture, card mounts, wall trimmings, counters, and floor were made to match.

The tables, counters and shelves were deroted to bound volumes of school work, portfolios of drawings, and show cases. Cabinets for card mounts and suitable show cases were provided. Card mounts paneled off by oak molding and corner blocks were arranged uniformly over all blank wall spaces. The rear wall was reserved for large drawings and paintings, and was enlivened by two double ornamental windows imitating leaded glass. Alternating panes were embellished by educational statistics and literary symbols. Suspended overhead was an original lantern in imitation of stained glass, designed and executed by a schoolboy of Lincoln, and near it a large circular stained-glass churchwindow designed and executed by the club women of Omaha. The entrance to the booth was rendered additionally attractive by large colored transparencies from the Morrill geological expeditions of the University of Nebraska. Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney, Hastings, Beatrice, York, Fremont, Plattsmouth, Falls City, Peru, Crete, Crawford, Columbus, Craig, Tecumseh,

Belleview, Gering, Wahoo, and other towns and many rural schools were represented. Special exhibits were made by the Institute for the Deaf, Institute for the Blind, the State Normal School at Peru, the State Forestry Association, the State Forestry School, the University of Nebraska, Union College, the State library commission, the State geological survey, the State botanical survey, the State Engineering Society, the State Ornithologists' Union, the Nebraska weather bureau, women's clubs, etc.

The work of collecting, preparing, and forwarding material was shared chiefly by Miss Carrie A. Barbour, Miss Helena I. Redford, Mr. E. G. Woodruff, and Miss Edith L. Webster, assistants in the University of Nebraska. Miss Webster was given charge of the exhibits during the entire period of the exposition. Among the special features of the exhibit, the one cherished was that of honest representation. The work was not recast for special display, but was shown as it came from the pupils, with errors and corrections still in evidence. So far as can be learned, pupils were not generally forewarned and few knew that their work was to be displayed. In the case of the larger schools, where the notebooks and the written work are of exceptional excellence, the director of exhibits selected and made up the bound volumes out of material laid aside before the legislature had acted upon the State appropriation for the exposition. The exhibit was genuine throughout. The tendency toward laboratory methods and applied science was pronounced, even in the work of the rural schools. The rapid advancement of Nebraska's educational standard to its present position of lowest percentage of illiteracy on the western continent has depended, as does the survival of any pioneer, upon resourcefulness. Throughout the State great stress seems to have been laid on original work in every grade, resulting in many individual pieces of striking merit, some of the most interesting coming from isolated villages and rural schools on the western border.

Among the special features an important one was the work of women's clubs in their efforts for the establishment of parks, playgrounds, gardens, and more commodious schoolhouses; in the organization and maintenance of city and home-improvement societies, traveling libraries, and charity organizations; in original investigation and the education of certain worthy poor. The State Library Association made an extensive exhibit of large photographs of the exteriors and interiors of all the libraries of the State, carrying the matter even to the traveling libraries in the villages and rural homes. Accompanying this were published reports and statistical matter of value.

One of the striking features of the exhibit was the Omaha manual training display. The work was of such excellence and of such exceptional finish and beauty as to attract general notice. The work of every grade was shown in the order of progression, as well as the beautiful piecework, turned work, and inlaid work which certain students of the Omaha High School were allowed to make as a recognition and reward for proficiency in required work.

The school for the deaf at Omaha was represented by work in plain and fancy sewing and embroidery, by an especially large and creditable display of art work, by bound books of class work and statistics, and by two “ lire" classes. During the month of June a class of six pupils and teachers was maintained and was in operation daily, illustrating the method of teaching the youth of the institute for the deaf. Again, during the month of October a class of eight pupils and teachers in art work gave daily exhibitions of methods.

The Nebraska School for the Blind, at Nebraska City, exhibited lace, plain and fancy sewing, embroidery, knitting, weaving, beadwork, basket work, hammocks and nets, brooms and brushes, the exbibit being large and creditable in

« AnteriorContinuar »