Teacher Orientation
Research & Collections
People at the Museum
Activities & Resources
Teacher Orientation

The Behind the Scenes module focuses on the Illinois State museum, its people, research, collections, and activities. It is a careers module for students to learn what careers are available in museum work. It shows how exhibits are created, how specimens and artifacts are studied, and how collections teach us how people lived and what our environment looked like in the past.

Use the expanding menu on the upper left of each page to proceed through the module, or click on a subject that interests you. There are no Next or Back buttons on pages, so students will need to know how to use the menu. The text has some links that take you out of the Museum's web site. To return to your original location, use your browser's Back button. The buttons at the bottom of each page will take you to the different MuseumLink modules.

Reading Level:
The reading level of most sections of Behind the Scenes is about seventh to eighth grade. Some of the more scientific sections may have a higher level because of the complexity of the subject.

Many scientific terms are underlined and purple in color. They are linked to the glossary. When you click on these words, a popup box appears with the definition of that word. The full glossary can be printed out for classroom use.

The module is divided much as the Museum's functions are divided. The departments are:

Research and Collections:
features sample objects from each of the Museum's sections and describes the research and activities of each:

Fine Art
Decorative Arts

describes several of the educational programs created by the education section, including a Super Saturday on mussels.
features the creation of an art exhibit, the life, career, and museum work of a museum exhibit artist, and a description of how a Dickson Mounds exhibit was researched and created. People:
features interviews with people in each of the sections of the Museum, in which they reveal how they became interested in museum work, how they prepared for it, what they do in their job, and what advice they would give to aspiring museum workers.

Activities and Resources:
Lesson plans for hands-on activities, Web links, and print resources are located here. The lessons address specific Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Standards and Goals. They are based on collections objects or research tools discussed in the modules. Each lesson details the grade levels, subject matter, time required, and ISBE goals addressed.

The main activity for museum careers is the Create an Exhibit activity. Students take roles as museum professionals, collect and prepare object, art, or specimens for exhibit, create the exhibit, and present it to an audience. This can be used at any level with some adjusting by the teacher. It can be modified to create a "Roadshow" format with decorative arts and fine arts objects. Students and their parents may bring in objects to research in history class. It can be used concurrently with MuseumLink and At Home in the Heartland Web sites (nineteenth and twentieth century Illinois history).

Each activity has suggestions for evaluation of students, but not always an evaluation tool. Teachers may want to integrate the module into a larger unit of study that has its own evaluation tools.


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