Throughout February, eighth grade students in the African-American Achievement Program at Taft Middle School (TAAAP) are leading presentations to younger students.

The presentation is about an exhibit on loan from the African American Museum of Iowa entitled “Western Africa: Before the Boats” and touches on the subjects of African creativity and craftsmanship, the continent’s climate and cultivation, and culture and community.

“We believe as facilitators that students will learn best from their peers, so when our kids got the opportunity to present and be proud of something they were excited,” explains Monique Clark, Taft engagement specialist and TAAAP site leader. “They get to use their voice and inform their peers—it’s working effectively.”

After each presentation, the exhibit is positioned so all students can view it during passing time.

Traveling exhibit at McKinley

McKinley STEAM Academy is home to another traveling exhibit for the next few weeks, entitled “Products of a Creative Mind.” The exhibit features African American inventors and innovators who have impacted the ways we eat, move, live, and stay healthy.

Amy Gardner, librarian at McKinley, sees the benefits of the exhibit for students. “It’s a great idea to bring the African American Museum of Iowa here so that students can see it at school in the IMC,” she says.

For the remainder of the school year, the African American Museum of Iowa will loan traveling exhibits to several CRCSD schools. The project is supported financially by Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust.

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African American Museum of Iowa Exhibits