Class VII Visits the New-York Historical Society

JANUARY 10, 2021

Throughout the winter, Class VII students have been participating in the New-York Historical Society's Academy for American Democracy residency. In this special residency, students are learning about the concept of democracy, how it was crafted by ancient Athenians and inspired the American founders, as well as tracing the evolution of American democracy from the Constitution to the present day. In December, seventh graders had virtual sessions on Athenian direct democracy and representative democracy in the United States with museum educators.

On the morning of January 10, Class VII, Ms. Salitan, Ms. Sadoff, and additional Nightingale chaperones journeyed across the park to the New-York Historical Society for an all-day visit. The students were met by museum educators and were split into two groups to experience the visit at different times.

Ms. Sadoff’s group began their visit on the fourth floor. There, students learned about theater in ancient Athens. Students then dressed in togas and walked down to Dexter Hall.

“Learning about [Greek] theater in school was taught differently than how they taught it in NYHS. Since there were two different ways of learning it, I thought of new ideas and understood them in a different way,” Ella D. ’27 said.

In small groups, the students analyzed a monologue from Antigone (442 BC) and then worked together to come up with a one-sentence response to Antigone. One by one, each group read off in unison what they came up with.

“My favorite part of the field trip was definitely when we got to act as the chorus. I thought it was a very interesting and interactive way to learn about ancient Greek theater. My group and I had a really fun time coming up with an answer and later acting in front of everyone else,” Bianca A. ’27 shared.

During that time, Ms. Salitan’s group went to their classroom and learned about activism in the United States.

Both groups then swapped activities, and after both of the lessons were completed and the students finished lunch, Class VII was able to roam the museum with their chaperones and see a variety of galleries. Students also had the special opportunity to view NYHS’ new Ruth Bader Ginsburg exhibit.

“When we were analyzing paintings, it taught me that the message of a painting is not always just in front of you. Sometimes it takes making connections and analyzing it to figure it out,” Olivia E. S. ’27 reflected.

Finally, students split up and ventured to different classrooms for their final activity of the day. Led by museum educators, students learned about printmaking. After a few instructions, students got to work creating their own posters about causes that were meaningful to them. One by one, students dipped their brayers in paint and got to work. After about half an hour, the students’ work was hanging up to dry.

“Something that I learned on the field trip was the different ways to protest. Before I wasn't aware of all the ways you could stand up for something you believe in,” Sarah B. ’27 shared. “My favorite part of the field trip was when we got to do the printing. I thought this was a fun way to show support for an important cause. I chose to make a poster that said ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ because the environment is a cause that is very important to me.”

Bianca A. shared that she decided to create a poster of a mouth with words coming out of it.

“The words said ‘your voice is your vote,’” Bianca shared. “I got inspired from this other drawing I saw but I also agree with what my poster said. I think that our voices are our votes and we need to share and use our voices more often.”

Nightingale hopes to continue our partnership with the NYHS for the rest of the school year to enrich our study of early United States history.