P.E.I. museums, heritage sites to expand hands-on programming

·2 min read
Jason MacNeil, programming and education co-ordinator with the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation, says students are ready to get out of the classroom. (John Robertson/CBC - image credit)
Jason MacNeil, programming and education co-ordinator with the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation, says students are ready to get out of the classroom. (John Robertson/CBC - image credit)

Island students and their teachers will soon be able to have hands-on experiences at more museums and heritage sites across P.E.I.

The P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation operates seven sites across the province, including the Orwell Corner Historic Village, where it has been providing curriculum-based learning for school groups for several years.

"The uptake at Orwell has been amazing and we have a lot of schools that are coming back … year after year with the classes because the things that we're doing directly connect to curriculum and there's no better way to to learn," said Jason MacNeil, said the programming and education co-ordinator.

The foundation is now planning to expand that programming, starting with adding new experiences for classes in June at the Green Park Shipbuilding Museum & Yeo House.

The new program has 19 possible days to operate and 14 are already booked by groups. MacNeil said he's seeing an eagerness to get students out of the classroom during the pandemic.

"We're kind of setting ourselves up and following the protocols of each school. They're coming one cohort at a time, and that way, really, it's just kind of a transfer of their classroom to the site," he said.

The Orwell experience ends with a horse-and-carriage ride to nearby Macphail Woods, where the students will do science activities.
The Orwell experience ends with a horse-and-carriage ride to nearby Macphail Woods, where the students will do science activities.(Randy McAndrew/CBC)

MacNeil said the expansion will also make the learning experiences even more accessible to classes in the western end of the province.

"It's a long drive from Tignish to Orwell," he said.

"The fact there's no charge for it makes it even more accessible to all kinds of schools and families."

MacNeil is the program facilitator. He said he's looking forward to getting started.

MacNeil says Orwell had about 8,000 visitors last year. Most of those were students.
MacNeil says Orwell had about 8,000 visitors last year. Most of those were students.(John Robertson/CBC)

"We'll be busy. Both Orwell and Green Park will be just spinning with kids, which is great," he said.

The foundation hopes to launch programming at the Elmira Railway Museum in September, followed by the other sites. Once the programs are designed, MacNeil said other visitors can also take advantage when they visit the site.

"We can talk about the history of the fishery at Basin Head Fisheries Museum. You can talk about art at Eptek," he said.

"Every museum kind of covers a little different piece of Island history."

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