Students create a museum after visiting the Dayton schoolhouse museum

by Laura Tennant

These 5th and 6th graders from Dayton’s three elementary schools in the accelerated and gifted program visited the Dayton Museum and stand before the John D Winters’ barn that contains Dayton’s farming and ranching artifacts. (Laura Tennant photo)

When Dayton Intermediate School teacher Chris Koch asked the Historical Society of Dayton Valley to give a tour of the Dayton Museum to her 5th and 6th grade Gifted/ Accelerated students so they could create a museum, our members were eager to help. The Society’s mission statement emphasizes educating the public about Nevada and Dayton history. Since the Museum exhibits history in Nevada’s “oldest schoolhouse standing in its original location,” school students are our favorite visitors. (Built in 1865, the schoolhouse is also the 2nd oldest existing schoolhouse in Nevada and its original exterior and interior have been preserved. The Glendale School in Reno is the only one that is older than Dayton’s.)   

Mrs. Koch teaches the GT/Accelerated students for the 4th – 8th grades in Dayton’s three elementary schools and social studies to DIS 7th and 8th graders.

The students were well behaved, respectful, paid attention and asked intelligent questions.

Dayton’s three elementary school students with the accelerated and gifted school program pose with their teacher Chris Koch when they learned about old-fashioned art of blacksmithing in the outside yard at the Dayton Museum. (Laura Tennant photo)

Tour at Dayton Museum

The fact that the only day and time that worked for Mrs. Koch’s class to visit the Museum had been Wednesday, which turned out to be perfect day and time for us since the Society’s Accessioning Committee meets at the Museum on Wednesday mornings to document donated historically memorabilia for inclusion in the Museum’s collection.

We committee members were already working at various tables inside the Museum where we were documenting donated historical items to be displayed or filed for others to research genealogy or just enjoy a step back in time.

Accessioning is time consuming and important because every item must be identified so a visitor can find where it is located in case they are doing family research and the process includes a variety of steps: historical research about a manuscript, photo or object we have, giving it an accessioning number in a specific category, listing the names of people associated with the item, photographing it with its assigned number, handwriting the information on specifically designed forms for input into a computer system that coincides with a historical-designed program to tie Dayton history to a national museum system.  

The kids found it interesting that we elder historians use our cell phones (sometimes computers) to find information on an item we are accessioning.

Mason Burns exhibit on the Civil War at the DIS mini-museum display. Mason enjoyed his classes visit to the Dayton Museum so much that he is volunteering there now. (Laura Tennant photo)

Students create a mini-museum

By mid-December, the students who had visited the Museum had established a mini-museum in Mrs. Koch’s DIS classroom and she invited Society members and others to a tour.

The kids chose a subject to research and had to find items to use for a display. The students stood proudly next to their exhibit and explained what the focus had been to the visitors.

The display subjects varied from rocks, pets to war and soccer to name a few. HSDV members enjoyed learning from the kids this time around and were pleased to have been part of learning experience.

Natalie Porter and other 5th and 6th grader students pose with HSDV members Vicki Kinney, in back, and Mabel Masterman, who toured the student-created museum at DIS. (Laura Tennant photo)

Students participating from the three elementary schools in Dayton.

DES – Brayden Delillo-Williams, Rhys Evans, Annie Goodlander, Connor McChesney, Regan Sissney, Alison Sorich, Delaney Stanton, Lily Von Schoff, Nathaniel Ybarra, Mason Zana, Aidan Jacklett, AJ Martensen.

SES – Mason Burns, Brooke Padilla, Hyrum Soderborg, Tucker Zahtilla, Evan Moyer

RES – Tanner Logan, Brian Torres, Blake Palmer, Natalie Porter, Ellan Ortiz

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