Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Enquiries from local schools

We get quite a lot of enquiries from educational institutions. Here is an example of the kind of thing we sometimes send out to local requests for educational resources. We'll post an example of an overseas response later.

We received the following a while back:
"I am currently teaching a small group of Y11 and Y12 students who are studying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It would be good if they can make contact with anyone interested in discussing Palestinian culture, and even better if they could visit your collection at the same time.There are 12 students in the group.

Is a visit possible ? If yes, what times are best ?

Richard Gorrell
Hawker College"
These sorts of requests are tricky. We are absolutely delighted to talk to school groups about Middle Eastern and Palestinian cultural heritage and historic issues, but we prefer to leave discussions of contemporary politics to others. So in this case, our Public Programs Manager replied:
"Dear Mr Gorrell,

Thank you for your email to the Palestine Costume Archive regarding educational programs. Our apology for the delay in reply, due to Archive staff being overseas with our travelling exhibitions.

Unfortunately because those exhibitions are away at present there is little in our pre 1948 collection that we can show your students. However we can provide slide lectures at your school accompanied by a small collection of post 1948 (primarily refugee) textile items, if this might be of interest.

While our museum's educational / public programs do not deal with political issues, to provide these might we suggest you contact Avigail Abarbanel (BA(Hons.), Grad. Dip. Psych./Couns., Cert. Gestalt Couns) who often speaks to school groups and provides an extremely interesting viewpoint. We could combine a visit between Avigail and an Archive staff member, covering both past and present, if you liked.

Today, many young Australians are travelling to the Palestinian / Israeli region to work for humanitarian organizations such as ISM (International Solidarity Movement ) helping with Palestinian olive harvests, protecting homes, etc. If you would like your class to hear of these experiences - which give an idea of daily life in Palestinian regions today - we suggest you contact Michael Shaik who has worked with ISM and, like Avigail, regularly speaks at schools. Again, like Avigail, he is an excellent public speaker.

The Archive also holds a large library of films and videos on the history of, and contemporary life in, the Palestinian region (plus many other areas of the Middle East) which we often screen for, or lend, to school groups. If you might like to include some of these check out the catalogue for Arab Film Distribution in Seattle at - we hold most of these titles and it will give you an idea of the quality and quantity of material we offer.

If any of these ideas appeal please drop us a line. Thank you again for contacting our museum"


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