Former Culture Minister Wants School Administrators to Take Students to Museum

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Min. McMillian-Siaway.

Former assistant minister for culture Louise W. McMillian-Siaway has called on school administrators to pay keen interest to the educational activities of their students, advising them to make visits to the newly renovated and reopened Liberia National Museum.

Min. Siaway, who also became the first minister for culture in postwar Liberia to undertake a full scale renovation work on the museum, said during her time as minister, she saw lack of interest among school administrators to encourage students to visit the museum or set up a field trip for them.

Although she was changed before museum renovations were completed, Min. Siaway added that under her administration, school administrators were sent communications urging them to bring students to the museum, but the lack of interest from them complicated things.

“Now that the museum is renovated, I hope they rethink their decision by setting museum field trips for the students. They need to understand that by visiting the museum, students makes connections to prior knowledge that educate them about historical events and engage them to think outside the box.

“Also, museum exhibits inspire interest in an area of study, item, time period, or an idea–which students need to learn. It is sad and frustrated that Liberian children are missing lots of these benefits due to their school administrators,” Min. Siaway said.

She added that it will be disappointing if school administrators fail to start including visits to the museum as an extra-educational activity, especially now that it has been renovated to international standard with new artifacts.

“Schools do not only exist to provide economically useful skills in numeracy and literacy, but also to produce civilized young men and women who would appreciate the arts and culture of their nation,” she continued. “The failure to do so will leave many children without good knowledge about Liberia’s past and its culture.”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Good suggestion. Not only should students be encouraged to visit Liberia’s National Museum, they should also go on field trips; to the mining areas, rubber plantations, rivers… Most importantly, let students know from a very early age; the importance of Liberia’s high mountains and the rainforest. Education is not just reading writing and arithmetic. We need to know and understand our environment.

  2. Some Scholars say, “That teaching history to kids has many important benefits. History provides identity. Studying history improves our decision making and judgment. History helps us understand change and societal development.”

    I concurred with the former Assistant Culture Minister, Louise W. McMillian-Siaway, that our schools need to put more emphasis in getting Liberian students interested in making field trips to the newly renovated National Museum. The National Museum serves as a repository (storage) for historical information on Liberia’s past and present.

    Apart from visiting the newly renovated National Museum, other historical places in Liberia should be preserved and studied so that the young generation can develop a sense of Liberian identity and patriotism.

    The curator and those responsible for resurrecting some of Liberia’s lost historical artifacts should take into consideration the countless Liberian students and other Liberians who are not privileged to live in Monrovia or near historical edifices around Monrovia. Therefore, as money becomes available, it would be of vital importance to have digital information or a website where students and other Liberians not living in Monrovia can view these historical documents and artifacts on electronic devices such as cell phones, iPads, lap tops, and computers.

    Liberians have gone through fourteen years of tumultuous violence. Some selfish politicians and political leaders have used and are still using our lack of historical knowledge and our lack of national unity to divide and incite violence only to the detriment of our economic and political stability.

    Therefore, it is important to teach Liberian unique history, both past and present, in school to strengthen National unity in the country. Making students visit the National Museum and having them do research papers on Liberia’s history would be in the right direction to understanding Liberia’s past and present history in developing a sense of patriotism in Liberia.

  3. Miss Macmillan-Siaway is right on target. Also, the positions stated by Freeman and Conneh are fantastic. As a former school teacher in Chicago, Illinois, I took students out on field trips. Taking students out on a field trip is stipulated in the CPS curriculum. I think that curriculums (if there are any in Liberia) should make field trips a requirement. Students need some air. But more importantly, students need a little outside exposure. They need to know what happens out there.

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