Students on a field trip to the Atlanta History Center through programs offered by the Fulton County Schools Teaching Museum and Archive.

Fulton County Schools uses its Teaching Museum and Archives to share history from the 1800s to the present through the lens of local schools and communities.

“The public may not be fully aware of the fact that we have two teaching museums and an archive, all directed by our very own very capable, very knowledgeable museum curator,” Superintendent Mike Looney said as he introduced Jena Sibille, the curator of the Teaching Museum and Archives, at a recent school board meeting.

Sibille provided an overview of the Teaching Museum’s 80 programs and other resources that support student learning with free, authentic experiences beyond the classroom.

While creating programming with the Teaching and Learning Department, the Teaching Museum also works with community organizations to provide their expertise.

Sibille said the school board had the foresight 30 years ago to create a teaching museum and maintain an archive for future educators and students.

“Our mission is to support student learning and give them that spark to personally connect with and respond to what they’re learning in the classroom,” Sibille said.

Students learn about earlier forms of communication on a field trip.

She said student programs and field trip offerings are the most important programs. They include performances, educational programs, hands-on activities and experiential exhibits. A traveling trunk program provides supplies for teachers to check out for classroom exhibits.

The Teaching Museum and Archives also creates instructional materials and provides teacher professional development, she said. The museum has north and south physical locations: Teaching Museum North is in the former Roswell Elementary School, while Teaching Museum South is in the former North Avenue Elementary School in Hapeville.

Annual support comes from local and state funding sources, such as the Georgia Council for the Arts, which she called a great stamp of approval from the state. The National Endowment for the Arts also has provided funding during the last several years.

Teaching Museum student programs are provided free to Fulton County School and are aligned to the Georgia Standards of Excellence for pre-K through eighth grades, Sibille said.

The Teaching Museum offers approximately 10 to 12 different programs per grade level, ranging from humanities to STEM. Already this year 269 programs have been booked for this school year, she said.

The Teaching Museum also manages the Cultural Kaleidoscope field trips, which are a part of the Bridge to Success program, affording every elementary student the chance to participate in a field trip to a cultural institution in Atlanta.

Two new exhibits are “A Look Back, A Look Forward: The Creek and Cherokee of Georgia” at the South Museum and “Common Threads: The Everywhere and Every Day of Textiles” at the North Museum.

The Teaching Museum North at tthe former Roswell Elementary School.

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.