Posts tagged ‘american alliance of museums’

June 6, 2014

From the Ground Up: Visit From the Nigerians and a Community Feast!

by Melissa Harding

Community Feast 036

As part of the Museums Connect program, made possible by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the American Alliance of Museums, Phipps is partnering with the Gidan Makama Museums in Kano, Nigeria to provide an immersive experience for 15 local high school students in each city. Participating students will learn about nutrition, cooking and cultural food traditions by following local food from farm to table and will be communicating with students at their partner institutions. This project will last from September to June, resulting in the creation of a community cookbook that will be designed and created by participating students. Students will also meet each month for a Saturday workshop involving activities designed to get them thinking critically about their food system and food culture. Calling themselves the Global Chefs, this group of students is excited to learn more about what food means in their lives.

May was a busy month for our Global Chefs! The Nigerian students from Gidan Makama Museum came to visit for the last week of the month, culminating in a community feast for everyone who has been involved with the program over the course of the year.

The Nigerians arrived late Sunday night after spending almost a full 24 hours traveling. We are so grateful that they were willing to make such a long  journey! We met that at the airport and took them to their hotel in Oakland near Phipps. The next day, the Nigerian students and the Global chefs met and walked to lunch at the Chinese buffet restaurant near the hotel. The Nigerians loved the variety of food and everyone had a great time meeting each other for the first time.

On Tuesday, the Nigerians had a full tour of Phipps. They not only were able to spend time among the flowers in our beautiful glass houses, but they were also able to learn about our sustainable building initiatives and walk through the Center for Sustainable Landscapes. Since our landscape is so different from Nigeria’s, the students also went to Frick Park, a local city park to take a walk and experience a deciduous forest. Unfortunately, it rained a little too hard and the students got caught in a thunderstorm! However, they were still able to have an immersive experience in our forested areas.

Nigerian Field Trip 831

On Wednesday, the Nigerians took tours of Giant Eagle and of Whole Foods, two local grocery stores. Both stores provided kind staff who took the students around their stores. At Whole Foods, the Nigerians were provided with lunch and a nutrition tour of the store. In the evening, both the Nigerians and the Global Chefs enjoyed an outdoor picnic at the Phipps Garden Center near Mellon Park. They ate a fun meal on the lawn and then played outdoor games with Phipps staff anf volunteers.

On Thursday, the Nigerian students took a tour of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. They saw dinosaur bones for the first time and marveled at the sheer size of them. They also loved visiting the Polar World exhibit, the Hall of Gems and the Hall of Architecture. They ate lunch at a nearby restaurant specializing in Afghan food, which they really liked. After their time in the museum, the Nigerian students said that they really wanted to do some “American shopping”; in particular, they wanted to visit a Target store. The students had a great time looking at clothes and other items before dinner. That evening, they got together again with the Global Chefs for a guided boat ride on the Gateway Clipper down the Allegheny River. For many students, this was their first time on a boat. Students learned about the history of Pittsburgh and its bridges from the tour guide while snapping pictures and enjoying the ride.

IMG_0901

On Friday, the Nigerians went to the Children’s Museum, which is the home of the other Pittsburgh Museum Connects grant winners. Kimberly Bracken, the coordinator of that program, has been working on a cultural exchange from with students from a museum in Ecuador. Kim met our students and showed them around the gardens at the museum. The Nigerians also had fun screen printing and making art in the museum’s exhibits.

Saturday was feast day! Early in the morning, the Global Chefs came to Phipps to harvest greens and other salad fixings from the Edible Garden. They harvested the seeds that they planted several months ago at one of their workshops; for many of the students, this full circle was exciting to be a part of. The Nigerians arrived after and both groups spent some time having good discussions about their respective food cultures. The Nigerians shared their reflections on their home program and their time spent in America. One thing that both groups mentioned that their favorite part of the program was the time spent planting and harvesting in the garden. The two groups also exchanged gifts; the Nigerians brought lovely leather handmade bags and wallets for the Phipps students and staff and we gave the Nigerians personalized garden trowels to commemorate their visit to our gardens. Before the feast, both groups worked together to create a big, beautiful salad with dressing and took it up to the Special Events Hall where the feast was happening. Friends and helpers from the past year, as well as family members and Phipps staff, all sat down with the students to celebrate their achievements over the past year. It was a wonderful time for everyone!

After the feast, the Nigerians and the Global Chefs all went to see a movie and spend some last time together before the Nigerians left on Sunday. Everyone agrees it was a wonderful visit. We are so happy that we were able to share this great cultural learning experience with students from both museums!

To see more photos from the Nigerian’s visit, check out the slideshow below!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The above photos were taken by Phipps staff and volunteers.

 

February 18, 2014

From the Ground Up: Preparing for Spring and Summer Planting

by Melissa Harding

100_4095

As part of the Museums Connect program, made possible by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the American Alliance of Museums, Phipps is partnering with the Gidan Makama Museums in Kano, Nigeria to provide an immersive experience for 15 local high school students in each city. Participating students will learn about nutrition, cooking and cultural food traditions by following local food from farm to table and will be communicating with students at their partner institutions. This project will last from September to June, resulting in the creation of a community cookbook that will be designed and created by participating students. Students will also meet each month for a Saturday workshop involving activities designed to get them thinking critically about their food system and food culture. Calling themselves the Global Chefs, this group of students is excited to learn more about what food means in their lives.

Despite a crazy snow storm the night before that made the roads almost impassable, the latest meeting of the Global Chefs was jam-packed with fun activities. Not only did they get in quite a bit of planting and cooking, but they also had a chance to talk with some very special guests – the Nigerian team! First thing Saturday morning, the Nigerian team called the Global Chefs to learn more about their work. They asked lots of great questions, especially about what we are planting and cooking. It is very hot where they are, so their team is planting maize, rice and yams. When our teens told them how cold it was here and that we were getting so much snow, the Nigerians were amazed! One of the Global Chefs grabbed a handful of snow to show them and they couldn’t believe it. Both teams were so excited to finally talk to each other and can’t wait to do it again!

After this wonderful conversation, the teens moved on to seed starting. They started a total of nine trays of seeds for future planting. Half of those trays were filled with cold weather crops, like lettuce and broccoli, to be placed in Phipps Edible Garden in April. The other half of the trays were filled with warm weather crops, like tomatoes and peppers, and will be used by the 2014 Phipps summer interns to start their garden this June. Through this process, the teens learned about planting seeds, germination, and the best way to care for seedlings.

DSCN2951

Finally, the group made a delicious meal using some of their own recipes from the past year. Joined by Kelsey Weisgerber, Director or Food Services for the Environmental Charter School, and Emily Schmiddlap of Just Harvest, the Global Chefs made yet another feast fit for a king! They cooked savory chicken and tofu kabobs, complete with peppers, onions, sweet potatoes, and a yummy peanut satay. They also made rice and goti, an Indian bread recipe. Finally, for dessert they cooked a delicious Indian pudding, sheer kurma.

Next month, the Global Chefs will be meeting at Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus for a full-day retreat. The teens will get to work on their cookbook mock-ups and learn more about urban gardening on the 388-acre campus farm.

To see more photos from the day, check out the slideshow below!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The above photos were taken by Kate Borger.

November 21, 2013

From the Ground Up: Understanding Our Complex Food Systems

by Melissa Harding

DSC_0408

As part of the Museums Connect program, made possible by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the American Alliance of Museums, Phipps is partnering with the Gidan Makama Museums in Kano, Nigeria to provide an immersive experience for 15 local high school students in each city. Participating students will learn about nutrition, cooking and cultural food traditions by following local food from farm to table and will be communicating with students at their partner institutions. This project will last from September to June, resulting in the creation of a community cookbook that will be designed and created by participating students. Students will also meet each month for a Saturday workshop involving activities designed to get them thinking critically about their food system and food culture. Calling themselves the Global Chefs, this group of students is excited to learn more about what food means in their lives.

This month, a team of helpers from all over the community joined our Global Chefs in the kitchen to make their first full meal as a group. Nancy Hanst of Slow Food Pittsburgh, local chefs Rhonda Schuldt and Jean Daniels, and Chatham Food Studies student Amber Webb and B. Thorp all helped our students to learn knife skills, how to carve a chicken and more. Students made a meal of enchiladas, both vegetarian and chicken, and baked apples. For many of the students, it was their first time eating some of these foods. Everyone enjoyed eating the meal together, sharing in the group’s collective efforts.

DSC_0379

Students also learned just how complex the American food system truly is. They examined what a food system is, the differences between localized and conventional food systems, and how food systems looks different around the world. Students also worked on an activity comparing how foods market themselves versus the reality of their production and content, as well as how wealth is distributed along the food system. Finally, they looked at pictures sent by their Nigerian counterparts and examined how their experienced with food are similar and different to their own.

Additionally, students shared their holiday recipes from the previous month’s assignment. The recipes that they brought were varied by holiday and culture; examples include spiced yams, strawberry pretzel salad, coconut shrimp soup, sausage brochettes, baked moi moi and sweet potato pie. Students also chose a theme for their next recipe assignment; they are tasked with interviewing an elder to get a traditional recipe from their family or community.

To see more images from the workshop, check out the slideshow below!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The above photos were taken by Lisa Xu and program participants.

September 26, 2013

From the Ground Up: Museums Connect!

by Melissa Harding

phipps high school outreach underserved science education

“A place is a piece of the whole environment that has been claimed by feelings. Viewed simply as a life-support system, the earth is an environment. Viewed as a resource that sustains our humanity, the earth is a collection of places. We never speak, for example, of an environment we have known; it is always places we have known – and recall. We are homesick for places, we are reminded of places, it is the sounds and smells and sights of places which haunt us and against which we often measure our present.”
– Alan Gussow, American artist, teacher and conservationist

This fall, we are embarking on an exciting journey that explores the power of place –  the effect of place on our cultures, our food, our language.

As part of the Museums Connect program, made possible by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the American Alliance of Museums, Phipps is partnering with the Gidan Makama Museums in Kano, Nigeria to provide an immersive experience for 15 local high school students in each city. Participating students will learn about nutrition, cooking and cultural food traditions by following local food from farm to table. They will be communicating with their partner institution and trying together to understand similarities and differences between American and Nigerian culture. This project will last from September to June, resulting in the creation of a community cookbook that will be designed and created by participating students; recipes in the book will represent all students in the group and share what they have learned. Additionally, students at Phipps will be hosting a community feast this spring to coincide with a visit from the Nigerian students.

Check out this video of the kids introducing themselves; this is their first communication with the Nigerian students:

To help them in creating their cookbook, students will meet each month for a Saturday workshop. Each workshop will involve activities designed to get them thinking critically about their food system and food culture. They will be planning and planting an edible garden at Phipps, cooking together, taking field trips to urban farms, and exploring ideas of sustainability and social justice through food. This program also has homework; students will be asked to use a different prompt each month to write a journal of their journey through the program, as well as to help them start collecting recipes for their book.

Our first monthly meeting was held last Saturday. Students began their day by getting better acquainted with each other and Phipps. They interviewed each other to both learn more about their group mates and to create a set of profiles to send to their Nigerian counterparts. They also spent some time journaling and cooking together; students made salsa using fresh vegetables from the gardens at Phipps and talked about the power of eating together to create community.

In the next few months, they will travel to Braddock Farms, a local urban farm worked by area teens, and cook together with Slow Food Pittsburgh. We can’t wait to learn along with these wonderful students – not only are they giving up their busy weekends to work with us, but their enthusiasm is amazing! We will share their journey, along with ours, every month. We will also ask you for your own thoughts about food and culture, here and on our Facebook page. Please share your insights with us!

Do you think that your own sense of place affects your food culture? Share your answers in the comments!

The above photo was taken by Cory Doman; the videos were taken by Hanna Mosca and Kate Borger.

May 28, 2013

Science Education Staff Out and About: Spring Conference Presentations

by Melissa Harding

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At Phipps, we think that attending conferences is really valuable; being able to share what we do, as well as to learn from others, is something that we think is important. Our department educators have been out and about in the merry month of May, giving presentation on a number of different topics:

  • Christie Lawry presented with Richard Piacentini and Molly Steinwald at the Association of Children’s Museums conference on the evolving face of Phipps, specifically how our department uses multi-disciplinary learning to reach our students through their natural interests in things like art, photography and dance. Christie also spoke about how we assess and evaluate our programs to better align with our new institutional mission.
  • Amanda Joy spoke at the American Public Gardens association conference on how Phipps Botany in Action program connects real scientists to the general public and gives them the tools to effectively share their research. She also spoke about how the program has evolved over time to better connect with school students and young children.
  • Melissa Harding presented with Richard Piacentini and Molly Steinwald at the American Alliance of Museums conference as well; they talked from a multi-tiered perspective about how to evolve a museum setting to reinvent the relationship between people and nature. Melissa spoke about the importance of multidisciplinary learning and teaching the whole child through a combination of art and science.

It has been a busy month for us all! Check out some of these great organization and their websites to learn more about the work they do connecting people to the environment, teaching STEM skills and creating a broader appreciation for the work of museums and botanic gardens.

American Public Gardens Association
American Alliance of Museums
Association of Children’s Museums

The above photo was taken by Christie Lawry.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 199 other followers

%d bloggers like this: