The University Record, February 6, 1995

Kelsey's traveling trunks open new worlds for area schools

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services 

"Civilization in a crate" is what Becky Loomis, education and development officer at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, calls the traveling educational material for area schools.

At its recent open house and "trunk show," the Museum introduced three additions to its growing list of traveling educational suitcases. "Eureka," "Invention and Discovery in the Ancient World" and "Ancient Social Problems in the Modern World" join other teaching kits on subjects that include Egypt, pyramids and puzzles, Greek mythology and art, archaeology, Rome, the Near East, writing, Wenamon, Jason and the Argonauts, and Medieval explorers.

"Since 1990, these suitcases have reached more than 14,500 students and other individuals in Michigan, several other states, and Japan," Loomis says.

The first two of the new suitcases offer a glimpse into inventions and discoveries of the past. The kits delve into the lives of the peoples from the ancient Mediterranean--the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans--all of whom aided in the development of the plough, wheel, bathroom plumbing, paved roads, a calendar as accurate as that used today, coinage, writing (including the present alphabet) and safety pins. These educational suitcases were funded by the Detroit Edison Foundation.

Disease, poverty, homelessness, ecological waste and the role of women in society aren't new problems. They have been around since ancient times. Were these ancient civilizations about to find solutions? What can be learned from their experience, their mistakes or successes? The "Ancient Social Problems" teaching kit was funded by the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation.

The Kelsey Museum draws from its collection of archaeological artifacts and information to offer suitcases to schools and community groups. While some are designed for grades K-3, most are designed for the upper elementary grades through high school. Each suitcase contains books, videos, games, art reproductions, slide-shows, musical tapes, activities and a teacher's guide.

For additional information about "civilization in a crate," call the Kelsey at 747-0441.