The name says it all: Teaching Museum North is all about education.
Built in 1931, the building was once a school. Twenty years ago, it became the (TMN) and now it is staffed by three full-time employees who's sole mission is to put on the thinking caps of Fulton County students by bringing history into the present in a fun, engaging way.
Jena Sibille has been the museum’s curator for the past three years. She oversees the multitude of programs TMN puts on for students daily and helps develop new ideas that come in from department heads at Fulton County Schools.
“We see a lot of students, so we’re really about partnering here. Most of the ideas for our programs come from teachers and principals in the area,” Sibille says. “We like to hear what they want and go from there.”
Funded by the Fulton County School System and non-profits, TMN had almost 25,000 students come through its doors in 2011. The museum also partners with and the on several projects for students, like the Historical Walking Tour, Night at the Teaching Museum and Literacy through Drama workshops. Each program is geared toward a specific age group and curriculum requirement.
“It’s all about using our resources and reaching out into the community,” Sibille says.
Mary Jane Stone is another resource. She is one of the contract teachers working at TMN. When teaching students about the Anne Frank Diaries, Stone uses a full-scale secret annex to show students what life was like for the Franks in hiding. Master storyteller Cathy Kaemmerlen puts on an Anne Frank performance for students on a set behind a hidden door – a door that looks like a bookshelf, to be exact.
“We do a lot of fun things here, but the gravity of the situation isn’t lost. We cover a variety of historical subjects dealing with a lot of heavy content, so our mission is to go there in a safe way,” Sibille says. “We really want kids to have the discussion opportunity we provide.”