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A Journey Back in Time
Imagine going back in time to a place somewhat familiar, but strange and curious at the same time. Imagine finding you have traveled to a time where the Hopi tell stories to their children about the beginnings of time, or a place where Conquistadors travel through your land bringing new ideas as well as new religions and new diseases. Perhaps, you travel back only a few years, to a place you almost recognize, and yet still can’t place, as you see land leveled to build a park with a fountain in the middle of the desert.
This imagining is what we ask our 4th and 5th graders to do when they become museum Time Travelers. Each year, 10-20 elementary students sign up to learn about the Lower Verde River Valley history. They become students of our local history by working closely with experienced museum docents and learning one of our twelve museum exhibits. One student will learn about how the Yavapai lived off the land and flourished in this sometimes seemingly barren environment. Another student will learn about the ranchers who prospered by our river. Another student will learn about the soldiers who rounded up peaceful Yavapai, sending them off to live on another reservation. Still another will learn about our recent history, how our town is still strongly influenced by the Yavapai Nation who have occupied these lands for so many years.
As the students become more interested in their assigned station, they learn more and more about the history surrounding that section. Of course, they don’t keep all that enthusiasm to themselves. Throughout the year, school groups and community groups who visit the River of Time Museum have the opportunity to hear the Time Travelers present the information they have learned as they guide these visitors through the museum.
Visitors are excited to hear the information presented. Young students will focus on different information than older students. This new point of view always amazes even patrons who have been members for years.