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Norman Rockwell Museum Offers Berkshire County Student Passport Program
02:51PM / Monday, December 12, 2016
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STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Norman Rockwell Museum has begun the Berkshire County Student Passport Program, part of a comprehensive effort to reach out and engage many more young people in the region with the museum, and to introduce them to Norman Rockwell, who lived the last 25 years of his life in Berkshire County.

The museum uses Rockwell's narrative images to support learning in the classroom in relation to history, language arts and art, and educators have also found meaningful connections with regard to social/emotional learning and ESL themes.

Supported by the contributions of friends of Norman Rockwell Museum, the Passport Program was created for students and families in Berkshire County who might not otherwise have the opportunity to visit the museum. The program begins with visits by the museum's educators Tom Daly and Patrick O'Donnell to elementary school classes, where Norman Rockwell's art is explored through hands-on art activities and interactive discussion. This is followed by a class visit to the museum, where participating students encounter Rockwell's original art during educator-led tours. At the end of their museum visit, the students are given a "Passport" certificate that entitles them to return to the museum once more with family members over the course of a year. The program is concluded with a family day at the museum for students and parents at each school, complete with art-making, family tours and refreshments.

Berkshire County Student Passport Program is being piloted at three public elementary schools through early 2017, with plans to expand to other regional elementary schools. Current participants include third-graders from Muddy Brook Regional in Great Barrington and fourth-graders from Morningside Elementary in Pittsfield. Students from Morningside, who have previously completed the five-day in-class program and initial Museum visit, returned to Norman Rockwell Museum on Saturday, Dec. 10, with their families.

Programs are adapted to the needs and interests of administrators, teachers and students at each participating school. At Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School, Caldecott-winning artist Jerry Pinkney, the museum's 2016 Artist Laureate, will engage students in exploring concepts focused on the art of visual storytelling and its connection to classic literature. Funding is also making it possible for high school and college students from urban areas to visit the 'useum, by supporting some or all of the cost of bus transportation based upon need.  

"We are excited about this new initiative and look forward to welcoming students and their families to the museum," said Norman Rockwell Museum Deputy Director Stephanie Plunkett. "The hope is to procure funding to continue our work with these schools and others in years to come, eventually accommodating one grade level in every Berkshire County public school."

For more information about supporting the Berkshire County Student Passport Program, contact the museum at 413-931-2252 or education@nrm.org.

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