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University Educators @ Kentucky Museum

Each semester WKU faculty and staff utilize the collections and exhibits at the Museum with their classes. To schedule a class tour, close study of collections, and more please visit the KENTUCKY BUILDING FACULTY RESOURCE PAGE.

Below are just a few examples of the many ways university educators are utilizing the Museum as a teaching resource.If you have used the Kentucky Museum with your classes in the past, we encourage sharing to help spark ideas for others. Please email a brief description of course and activity to Education Curator, Christy Spurlock  Christy.Spurlock@wku.edu.  Additional questions, please call Christy at 270-745-6082.


bosnia exhibit

Anthropology 120

Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Dr. Ashley Stinnett

Folklife Specialist Virginia Siegel provided an introduction to the exhibit, A Culture Carried: Bosnians in Bowing Green. Students toured exhibit, taking notes relevant to class content. Based on their course readings on ethnicity and nationalism, students responded to the following writing prompt:

Define ethnicity in your own words then explain, in general terms, how the concept of ethnicity has been used by groups of people for a particular purpose. What was your general impression of the information presented at the museum, and why? What was the most impactful aspect of the exhibit for you?  What did you learn from the exhibit about Bosnian refugees? How have Bosnian refugees in BGKY experienced their ethnicity.

female student

Anthropology/Folk Studies 399

 Field Methods in Ethnography

Dr. Kate Horigan

After touring and studying the exhibit, students were asked to reflect upon A Culture Carried: Bosnians in Bowling Green. Exhibit reflection prompt was divided into three parts.

1) How are interviewees’ words shared and framed in this exhibit? Describe your encounter with these words as a visitor to the exhibit (for example, what was your reaction, how did you interpret them, what questions do you still have?). 2) Describe one object, story, or custom from the exhibit that you found especially expressive of Bosnian or Bosnian-American culture. What did this object/story/custom communicate to you about people, and how did it do so? 3) Describe anything else that you noticed or that surprised you.

One student reflected, "I felt a range of emotions—sadness at what they’ve gone through and continue to go through, admiration for their strength and adaptability, and amazement at their intricate culture.”

charles with wku students

Art 490 

Special Problems: Gallery Study

Kristina Arnold

The Corridor Gallery exhibition in FAC illustrates a partnership between PCAL, the Kentucky Museum, the University Libraries, and the extended Bowling Green community. Students in the course chose exhibit topics after conducting research on the collections held by the Kentucky Museum and the Department of Library Special Collections. They selected and borrowed specific objects from the Museum and Library with which to develop their exhibit themes, and researched and wrote label  copy interpreting each piece's significance. In many cases, student curators conducted outside interviews with community experts as part of their research process. All worked with Kentucky Museum exhibits staff to create mounts and safely install their objects.


wku students at museum

English 100

Intro to College Writing

Dr. Alison Youngblood 

For the assignment “Writing Beyond the College Essay”, ENG 100 students visited the exhibit A Culture Carried: Bosnians in Bowling Green and wrote a reflection in their writing journal.  First, students selected one display about an individual Bosnian refugee and the accompanying narrative that told this person’s story. They reflected on how the narrative exhibited effective narrative writing strategies to draw in the reader.  Finally, students were asked to look at the entire exhibit as a narrative work. They discussed two specific components of narrative writing that were integrated to help tell the story of the Bosnian community in Bowling Green.

wku students at museum

Elementary Education 407

Materials and Methods of Social Studies 

Dr. Judy Pierce

Each semester, ELED 407 students tour the Museum with the Education Curator and develop exhibit based scavenger hunts appropriate for elementary aged students. Students also receive training in a variety of educational resources available from both the Department of Library Special Collections & the Museum for student teacher use. Resources include  traveling trunks, KenCat and various other primary and secondary sources.

wku students at museum

Folk Studies 470G 

Museum Procedures/Preservation

Dr. Michael Ann Williams

In spring of 2017 students enrolled in FLK/ANTH 470 and FLK 470G created the small exhibit   “Korea Through Kentucky Eyes” as part of the International Year of South Korea.  Graduate students, and some undergraduates, researched and developed themes, identified objects and pictorial materials, wrote label copy, designed the overall look of the exhibit, and physically constructed it.  In an intensive two and half months, students engaged in the creation of an exhibit from beginning to end.  The students also sponsored an opening reception which included a narrative stage which featured a dialog between two Korean Americans living in Kentucky (one a student and the other a faculty member).


bosnia flag

Folk Studies 562

Folklore & Education

Dr. Tim Evans

Students in FLK 562 worked with the Museum education curator and the local Montessori school to design a Bosnian Culture Traveling Trunk for grades K-6. The trunk features an extensive lesson plan with numerous activities and handouts, connections to Kentucky state standards in Social Studies, Geography, Arts/Media Arts, Music Science, Mathematics, and Practical Living. It includes units on Bosnian history, the refugee experience, home and family life (including food traditions, herbs and embroidery), and recreation (including soccer, music and dance). The Bosnian Traveling Trunk was funded by the following: WKU International Year of Program, WKU Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology and WKU Potter College. For more information about the contents of the Bosnian Cultural Trunk, or to checkout and use the trunk, visit the Museum's Traveling Trunk web page. 

new kentuckians

Geography 110

 World Regional Geography

Erin Greunke

Geography students studied European movement of people as it relates to Bowling Green, KY. Bowling Green has a large immigrant population, due in part to Bowling Green being home to the  International Center of Kentucky (ICOFKY). Students were tasked with selecting a piece of artwork within the New Kentuckians exhibit, and to write about the artwork within the context of the immigration/refugee movement. Final work was included in the Geography 110 Facebook page.

Fall 2018 History of 20th Century Costume Class

Interior Design & Fashion Merchandising 332

History of Twentieth Century Fashion

Dr. Carrie Cox

This class has the privilege of working with the Kentucky Museum on their “Garment Documentation Project.”  Garments and accessories are chosen by Sandy Staebell for students to research.  They conduct technical research by measuring the artifacts, documenting their construction and photographing the items.  They also conduct in depth research on the history and provenance of each item.  Their findings culminate with a presentation and research portfolio on the garment and accessory they were assigned.


pitcher to use with decorative arts project

Interior Design & Fashion Merchandising 446

Restoration of Historic Interiors

Jack LeSieur

For a midterm project, our class first met at the Kentucky Museum to learn about resources available to them from both the Museum and the Department of Library Special Collections. Subsequently, students selected a specific decorative arts object at the Museum with the guidance of the collections curator, Sandy  Staebell. Students then were able to research their objects with the help of the collections curator and the DLSC librarians. The goal of this project was to demonstrate to students the vast array of resources available at both the Museum and the DLSC, as well as provide insight into the diverse range of topics, people, and tasks involved with recreating historic interiors.

savannahplaying dulcimer

Internships and Independent Study

The Museum faculty and staff work with students and departments to offer a variety of for credit and not for credit internship opportunities. Past internships have included Art Education, Art History, Fashion Merchandising, Graphic Design, History, Public Relations, Folk Studies, Social Media, and Museum Practices. The Museum has also partnered to offer credited independent study opportunities for students in the History Department.
kirsten as Dolly Madison

Performance 461

Museum Theatre

Carol Jordan & Christy Spurlock

The museum theatre practicum is an hands-on independent project developed in combination with the WKU Theatre and Dance Department and the Kentucky Museum.  Students are required to choose and research some aspect of the Kentucky Museum’s collection. Students develop a short performance piece based on their research. Working with both departments, the student refines the script and the performance, ultimately performing the museum theatre piece they have created for multiple audiences.


Draping Project, Fall 2017

Theatre 424

Special Problems in Tech Theatre: Adv. Costume Technology

Shura Pollatsek/ Lindsey Eastman

The course is a study in how to make patterns for garments through a method called draping.  The class’ final project is to make a pattern for a historical garment.  In preparation for this, they first visit the Kentucky Museum as a group to view historical garments in the collection and learn how to examine them for details of construction and shape.  Then, each student chooses an era and type of garment they plan to make, and they each set up an individual meeting with the curator to study items related to their chosen project in detail.  The students assemble a portfolio of historical research, both from the museum and other sources, and use the information to make a “mock-up”, or rough draft version of the historical garment.

wku students at museum

University Experience

 Several Instructors
Several instructors bring their University Experience classes to the Kentucky Museum. Some classes come for self-guided or docent guided tours, while others opt for Museum faculty led tours. Instructors often use the opportunity to introduce students to the various collections and holdings of  both the Museum and the Department of Library Special Collections. It is hoped that with an early introduction to the KY Buildings holdings, students may use materials in their future research endeavors.
Western Kentucky University




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Applied Human Services


Elementary Education


Folk Studies



Theatre & Dance

University Experience




Partnerships & Collaborations


Confucius Institute

Create It Forward

KY Folklife Program

Residual Unseen


WKU League of Sculptors

WKU International Year Of

Cultural Enhancement Series




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 Last Modified 11/14/18