New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 77

     mission, which includes courses and programs for the Bryn Athyn Church School, Academy of the New Church Secondary Schools, Bryn Athyn College and many other schools and colleges throughout the greater Philadelphia area. Part of this includes transporting them out of their time and place and asking: What was it like to live in a different time? In a different culture with different beliefs and practices? What do you see? And reinforcing what they have learned in the classroom. The stained glass program includes capturing the invisible, with the light of God shining, and learning to “read” the messages in stained glass. School programs include such topics as: Christmas art and workshops; Greece and Rome; mosaics and manuscripts; Islamic vs. Christian art; Egypt and Mesopotamia; China and Eastern religions; and a tie-in with local history. Among the primary goals of all the education programs are getting students to think about and develop empathy for other cultures. They find out, for instance, what it is like to use a quill pen and to pull an old printing press. Among testimonials from Academy and College teachers: “Glencairn brings history to life. It helps answer the question ‘so what?’ that students may have after studying facts and dates in the classroom. It helps to humanize history, making characters relatable and events understandable. When the students interact with actual objects (holding a weapon, writing with a quill, etc.) or find themselves in a different set of circumstances (postulates in an Abbey) they see history in a personal way rather than as some remote and theoretical subject that has no relevance to their current lives.” “Visiting the galleries in history classes is a wonderful complement to what we do in the classroom. One of my overarching goals in any history class I teach is to see the people in historical eras as fully human. Seeing actual objects, the ‘real deal,’ helps to do just this by making history, especially religious history, come alive. For me, it is hard to over-emphasize the importance of humanizing history.” “When students participate in the Medieval Festival, they have the opportunity to engage in public history at a premiere venue. I stress to students what an exceptional opportunity this is for them to engage in living history, and their test results show they retain this information best.” “Having a world-class collection at our fingertips makes this course a joy to teach. Close inspection of paint on stained glass, the details of manuscripts, the texture on sculpture does not come across in photos in our textbook.” The Medieval Camp last summer included 81 students from 13 states, and 15 student teachers. Activities included worship, a pilgrimage, cooking, a Maypole, sword play, virtues, a naming ceremony and a final “battle.” Among the many public exhibitions at Glencairn Museum are: “From Gutenberg to Kindle: The Art of Bible Making.” This marked the 143