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Wax Museum

Bill_Gates_-_Wax_MuseumThis is a common activity done in many history classes, but not so much in the Utah Studies classroom. Let’s change that! There were so many important figure that had a hand to play in creating Utah’s rich history. This activity will let each of your students get to know one of those figures very well, enough to be able to act like him/her in your classroom’s “wax museum”.

Come up with a list of names of historical figures in Utah history
Write each of those names on their own slip of paper
Fold the papers up and drop them in a jar

After explaining what a Wax Museum is (since some may not know), tell your students you will be coming around to each of them with your jar of names and they will need to draw one out.

The students will then spend a week or more researching the historical figure they chose from the jar and come up with 5-10 questions (you choose the requirement for your class) for people “visiting the museum” (neighboring classes/administration/parents/etc) to ask them about their character. Here are some examples:

Brigham Young
1. Why did you become the leader of the Mormon Church after Joseph Smith died?
2. Why did you lead the Mormons from Nauvoo to Utah?
3. Do you like the name ‘Utah’?
4. What was being Utah’s first territorial governor like?
5. What are your favorite hobbies?
6. What did you think about the Civil War going on at this time?
7. What were some of the challenges that you faced once you got to Utah?
8. How did you feel towards the U.S. government at this time?
9. If you could see Utah 100 years from when you lived, what changes (if any) would you like to see?
10. Can I have your autograph? (this question might be a fun one for every student to do, then the visitors could create a booklet full of autographs from famous figures of Utah!)

The students must create a large poster board with their 5-10 questions listed in print large enough for visitors to be able to read and ask. (Those large 3 panel ones used in science fairs should be big enough!) Along with the questions, the figure’s name must be at the very top, along with date of birth/death, and a picture if possible.

On the day that the museum “opens”, the students will need to be standing around the perimeter of the room, next to their posters. When visitors come to tour the museum, they need to be prepared to answer the 10 questions you created in full character, responding in “I” statements as if the student was truly their historical figure. Extra credit if they can dress like their character!

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