On Thursday Jake and Malorie took the 6th and 7th graders to the James D. Palmer Gallery at Vassar College. The current exhibit is entitled ‘Where Hope Finds a Home: Recognizing the Refugees of Lancaster County”. The walls of the gallery are filled with the work of photographer Kristin Rehder, who spent that last year travelling Lancaster County Pennsylvania, where she took pictures of the many refugees that have been resettled there and documented their stories. We also had the good fortune of meeting Maria Hӧhn, chair of the History Department at Vassar College. Maria helped guide our time at the exhibit and provided meaningful context for the portraits.
Having recently finished reading the book Refugee in Humanities class, our students were able to see the very faces of the humanitarian crisis they had just studied and make personal connections through their stories. In the group discussion we had to end our time at the Gallery, students talked about the pictures that struck them the most and the stories that will stick with them. We also used the time to discuss Kristin’s artistic approach and the techniques used to make each portrait unique and specific to the individuals and their experience.
It was a powerful moment for all. Jake and Malorie do an amazing job crafting deep learning experiences for our students that are both real-world and relevant, and this was a trip our students will remember for a long time.