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March 4, 2014

Young Historians, Living Histories- Today’s Stop: Honolulu, HI!

Special thanks to Paula Lee, Smithsonian Affiliations intern, for this guest post. This is the third of a five-part blog series she is writing as part of the Young Historians, Living Histories (YHLH) collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Center and our Affiliate network.

pa.2As we travel west to hear from our Affiliates at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor (Honolulu, HI) we take flight almost literally, with those who once navigated overseas when aerial travel was a rare and exciting introduction to history. Shauna Tonkin, Director of Education at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, connects us with Curtis Joe, immediate nephew of Chinese-American aviator and stunt pilot, Tom Gunn and Pan Am Japanese-American flight attendants, Mae Takahashi and Aileen Sodetani.

Tonkin partnered with Chris Facuri, Digital Media Teacher at Aliamanu Middle School, enabling the oral histories collected and edited throughout the school year to be incorporated into students’ curriculum. Participating students in the class took a field trip to visit the museum to meet Joe, Sodetani and Takahashi, where the entire group received a historical tour before sitting down for interviews. The two flight attendants live locally in Honolulu while Joe flew out from San Francisco to be a part of this project. All were very appreciative and realized the value of sharing the experiences that they’ve endured with younger generations. In response, the interactions with the pioneers made the experiences and stories come alive for the students studying them, activating their interests and courage to solicit knowledgeable questions.

Ford Island, where the museum is located is in the middle of Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, HI. On December 7, 1941, Japanese aircraft led a surprise attack initiating World War II. This led to a hard time for both Americans and Asian Americans, because the following year over 150,000 Japanese were ordered into internment camps although 62% of them were American citizens.

“The program served to be education, dynamic and responsive due to the nature of its interactive learning environment” observed by cooperating teacher Chris Facuri. Sparking the curiosity and interests of the youth was an important experience for Tonkin as she empathized with the difficulties of 1st generation children and their journey towards finding homage and respect for their culture while adapting to American influence. Tonkin emphasizes that this collaboration has “instilled a greater appreciation for diversity and culture of the Asian American Pacific experience. The oral histories collected barely scratched the surface.” She said, revealing her excitement towards starting new projects.

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Students capture footage of Curtis’ interaction with youth of YHLH during a field trip tour to Pacific Aviation Museum

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Students take a tour of the museum to learn about Pacific Aviation history

 

Curtis Joe, nephew of Tom Gunn, Chinese Aviator of the Pacific Ocean sitting in for an interview

Curtis Joe, nephew of Tom Gunn, Chinese Aviator of the Pacific Ocean sharing the stories of his childhood

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Students take a tour of the museum to learn about Pacific Aviation history

February 25, 2013

Young Historians, Living Histories

   

Asian American LEAD students participate in the Asian Pacific American Center's (APAC) summer outreach program. Photo Credit: Sandra Vuong, APAC.

Asian American LEAD students participate in the Asian Pacific American Center’s (APAC) summer outreach program. Photo Credit: Sandra Vuong, APAC.

 

Young Historians, Living Histories is a collaborative educational program that draws on the exhibition, I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story, from the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center (APAC).

Smithsonian Affiliations and APAC have partnered in a grant collaboration and have been awarded funds from the Smithsonian Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access’s Youth Access Grant program to work with nine Affiliates across the country that are positioned to engage underserved youth in select Asian Pacific American communities.

The one year multi-media educational program will provide qualifying partners with one week of professional development training. The training will prepare facilitators to implement a workshop (or series of workshops) that teaches underserved Asian Pacific American (APA) youth methods of oral history documentation, research and writing skills, along with video documentary and editing skills. The goal of the program is to encourage budding historians to explore, contextualize, and deepen their understanding of APA history and culture while learning new technologies and contributing to a dialogue in their local communities. Workshop participants will gain the skills to produce multimedia online banners to be shared across a network of websites (including the Smithsonian) around the project.

Asian American LEAD students participate in the Asian Pacific American Center's (APAC) summer outreach program. Photo Credit: Sandra Vuong, APAC.

Asian American LEAD students participate in the Asian Pacific American Center’s (APAC) summer outreach program. Photo Credit: Sandra Vuong, APAC.

Selected Affiliates will be awarded $2,500 for implementation of Young Historians, Living Histories Program.

If your organization is interested in participating in this initiative, please review the following criteria for selection:
• Serve an Asian Pacific American community
• Experience in conducting and documenting oral histories
• Maintain or have the potential to develop partnerships with local community centers, after school programs and/or middle and high schools to engage youth in the multimedia project
• Capacity to organize workshops (May – November 2013) and train participants in the production of online banners

For more information on the program, join us for a Teleconference to discuss implementing the Young Historians, Living Histories program.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

Dial In: 1-877-860-3058                               Participant Pass code: 607773

Talk to the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s (SAPAC) Gina Inocencio, the Center for Asian American Media’s (CAAM) and Smithsonian Affiliations representatives Christina DiMeglio Lopez and Caroline Mah.

 

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