Activity: Other activity types › PreK-12 engagement
This program takes advantage of children’s fascination with the popular trappings of medievalism (knights, princesses, sorcerers, dragons) by using it as a gateway to stimulate an appreciation of books in general and history and literature in particular.The program was initiated by CMS Director Susan Noakes in 2005-06 in partnership with Twin Cities schools and organizations. CMS doctoral candidate Elizabeth Bowser, a certified and experienced middle school teacher, helped develop lesson plans. Pairs of graduate and advanced undergraduate students, when possible in period costume (rented from the Guthrie Theater at a reduced rate, the costumes greatly enhanced K-12 students' interest in the program), visit schools and demonstrate making medieval books with authentic material (parchment, quill pens, gold leaf, inks). The students can then actually use the materials during follow-up sessions with their teachers, who receive training in presenting a unit on "Medieval Inventions: The Book and its Parts" and are introduced to the rare-book resources available at the U of M for low-cost field trips.