Community Building with area schools and
Bay View Historical Society members!
Clement Ave, Fernwood Montessori, Humboldt Park and Trowbridge Schools are being invited again to participate in the BVHS education initiative to engage students in learning about the Bay View area and the history of the their school! After last year’s study of the Port of Milwaukee many teachers are requesting workshops and field trips with students to learn about how their school is able to connect with resources in the community. BVHS members will research interests to focus student projects and have them experience hands-on learning with the community and our members.
In the fall teachers use the concepts from Peter Block’s writing, Community: The Structure of Belonging. It is important to understand one framework that shaped Bay View, where immigrants from many areas settled and how they worked to live in support of one another. Also helpful are materials from “Thinking Like A Historian” where students learn to ask many questions as a way of exploring and expanding into deeper knowledge of what and why things happened. The Port of Milwaukee provided a treasure chest of maps, books, background and history of the port for each school.
In the past BVHS hosted a workshop featuring John Gurda and his study of the Port of Milwaukee. The very informative day inspired teachers to further explore the port with students. Trowbridge organized a field trip with 4th and 5th graders to visit the port area and ships that were being restored while in dry dock. Fernwood Montessori used the port materials and books to study the history of the area and research family connections to Bay View. “The Making of Milwaukee” video was very helpful for all classes to understand more about some of the events that shaped what has happened through the years.
Many students thought the settlement on Jones Island was very fascinating. Teachers used “Fisherfolk of Jones Island” and “Soul of a Port” to share stories of those who had lived there. A Kashube descendant was willing to visit classrooms and talk about the families and community that he had known. A Bay View Historical Society member also visited classrooms to talk about her family as founding members. From there, students began creating projects that could help others learn about some of the significant history around them.
In the spring, students worked to organize projects that could be exhibited both in their school and at the Beulah Brinton House. Over 150 students participated in projects related to learning about the history of families and the community. Connected to the Commemoration of the Bay View Tragedy on the first Sunday in May, thirty-five student projects were displayed before and after the reenactment for the community to visit. Students and their families were available to share what they had learned with BVHS members and the community during the reception. Projects included a study of the port through the years, ships and cargo, native settlers, the Kashube community, Rolling Mill, the Hoan Bridge, and families that have both lived here for many years and those who have recently settled in Bay View. Some photos of the student projects have been included but there were many others.
We appreciate the partnerships with the Port of Milwaukee and Wisconsin Humanities Council who provided wonderful resources and support! Enjoy and we hope you learn more about the history of our community and it’s people . . .
Bay View Historical Society received a development grant from Wisconsin Humanities Council for the services of John Gurda, our Bay View historian, to assist in designing the collaboration with Bay View area schools, Milwaukee Public Museum, UW-Milwaukee and BVHS that will inspire on-going community building events.
The purpose of the collaboration is to create a stronger sense of belonging in the Bay View community. As society changes, families move, and the economy challenges the stability of neighborhoods, BVHS knows that working together for the good of everyone will build relationships, offer support, and create resources that are vital for growth, connection and future development. The community building project offers students, staff, families, businesses, neighbors, historical society members and elders in Bay View time to learn and participate together. We continue to encourage a sense of community by conserving, celebrating and sharing Bay View’s rich heritage.
School and community activities will focus on:
- studying the history of early settlers like Beulah Brinton,
- creating digital archives of relevant documents,
- investigations of what creates community,
- use of literature and interviews to gain human perspectives, and
- student projects that showcase why community is a valuable and important resource.
Thanks to all who are helping to initiate our community enrichment project with more students and families!
For more information contact Susan Ballje at 414-481-3369.