NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 27, 2010

A DATE WITH HISTORY

New calendar illustrates the learning opportunities inside museum

A new calendar will do more than help area students keep track of the day and month next year. The 2011 wall calendars are also a reminder of the maritime events and moments that go down in the annals of Newburyport history.

Acknowledging that the joy of history can sometimes be elusive to young students, a team from the Custom House Maritime Museum is reaching out to area schools and communities to offer support in helping students recognize major developments in Greater Newburyport's past.

The museum's board recently sent out a packet containing a calendar and other material offering ideas on how the historic property on Newburyport's waterfront might be used as a relevant resource for local schools.

Museum leaders say the goal of the initiative is to reenforce that the Custom House has an important collection of primary-source material highlighting much of Newburyport's rich history.

"We are reaching out to suggest to teachers and administrators that they use the facility as a resource, because students can learn a great deal by participating and seeing for themselves what life was like years ago," said Bob O'Brien, a member of the Newburyport Maritime Society board and chairman of its education committee.

Each month of the calendar features an image of a significant painting or artifact tied to the maritime history of Newburyport.

For instance, August is illustrated by a photo of a wooden model of the revenue cutter Massachusetts, built here in Newburyport in 1791. Newburyport is considered the birthplace of the U.S. Coast Guard, as the cutter was the first of 10 approved vessels to enforce collection of duties - a function that later became the genesis of the Coast Guard.

Museum leaders say ship models like that of the Massachusetts and other maritime artifacts can offer an opportunity to discuss local history with students, especially at the younger grade levels.

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