Valdez Museum Pairs With Local Schools

Valdez Museum Pairs With Local Schools


Contact: Faith Revell                                    

Tel. 907-835-2764


Date: 9/11/2018

Gold Rush History Inside and Outside the Classroom

Valdez, Alaska, September 11, 2018 – The Valdez Museum continues to maintain a strong partnership with Valdez area schools and home school families by offering a variety of programs throughout the school year. But September is a particularly busy time for Faith Revell, Curator of Education and Public Programs, as she embarks on a series of presentations and field trips for 4th graders at Hermon Hutchins Elementary School and 7th graders at Gilson Middle School in Valdez.

The focus is on Gold Rush history and its relationship to the founding of Valdez. With 4th graders Revell starts in the classroom showing old photos of key players who shaped the town’s development as thousands flocked to the area in the late 1800’s seeking a quick route to the gold fields in Alaska’s interior. Next they take an all-day hike along the historic pack trail. In another classroom session Revell shares a variety of Gold Rush artifacts from the Museum’s collection, and the grand finale is panning for gold outside the school building.

The 7th graders set out in kayaks and paddle to Old Town at the edge of the water four miles north of present day Valdez. Revell calls it a “rite of passage” for these new middle schoolers. They don mustaches and bowler hats taking on the persona of gold prospectors. Some play the role of feisty horsewoman and pioneer Lillian Moore who trekked up the Valdez Glacier along with a band of crusty sourdoughs. Students learn about hardships they endured and the myth of “instant wealth” as Middle School Principal Rod Morrison joins in the act, making them barter precious gold nuggets (spray painted rocks) for necessities like wood and matches. There’s even a contest to see who the fastest fire starter is. This approach is a hands-on way of learning history that incorporates physical fitness, imagination, and creativity laced with a heavy dose of FUN!

Revell offers a variety of other educational outreach programs throughout the school year.