Riverview students create museum exhibit on women voting rights
Wednesday marked the final day of classes for Riverview students, but the 4th grade’s exhibit on the history of women’s suffrage in Colorado lives on at the Frontier Museum in Glenwood Springs.
It’s the perfect year to study the suffrage movement in Colorado. Congress passed the 19th Amendment, which allowed women to vote in national elections, 100 years ago on June 4, 1919, and Colorado was the first state to ratify it in December of that year.
Students from Riverview, along with Bea Underwood Elementary in Parachute and Park Elementary in Durango, worked together with the historical society to create the exhibit.
Students collected pictures and artifacts from the suffrage movement, and mounted them next to QR codes that, when scanned with a smartphone, open an audio file where groups of students describe the significance of the object, and what it means to them personally.
“This artifact makes me happy because it helped us get the right to vote,” a Riverview student named Makayla said while holding a pin worn by suffrage activists.
“I love this artifact because it is representing how women fought for the right to vote,” a Riverview student named Ariel said.
“This is important to me because my mom wouldn’t be able to have the vote,” one student said of a flyer advertising a debate about suffrage.
“We wanted to make history come alive, and we did that through researching the suffrage movement in Colorado,” Riverview teacher Ben Westby said.
Fourth grade students were already studying the suffrage movement this spring, and highlighting Colorado’s role in the 19th Amendment brought the local connection.
“It’s a big piece of our history, especially in trying to teach students the history of how we’ve come to get women the equal right to vote,” Westby said.
About 20 Riverview students, 24 from Parachute and 24 from Durango participated in the creation of the exhibit.
To complete the project, the students had to work in teams, collaborate with other schools, and coordinate with the Frontier Museum.
The students took a week to learn about museums, and Glenwood Springs and Aspen historical societies both presented how historians and museum curators approach research and create exhibits.
“The kids realized that history is worth learning, and that’s what it’s all about,” said Bill Kight of the Glenwood Springs Historical Society.
The Frontier Museum will keep the exhibit up throughout the summer, and the parents of the students can visit it for free.
Westby believes the students picked up more than a knowledge of history.
“They’ve learned that they can make a change themselves, and they can have the advocacy to make change on issues in our local communities,” Westby said.
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