It's one thing to read a history book; it's another to see the document the book talks about or photos of the people who made history, said Nancy Dennis, director of library information technology at the University of New Mexico's general library.
The Center for Southwest Research at the University of New Mexico
in Albuquerque, the Rio Grande Historical Collections at New Mexico State University
in Las Cruces, the New Mexico State Archives
and Records Center
in Santa Fe and the Fray Angelico Chavez History Library
at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe have created an online index of their collections. It allows historians, students, teachers, genealogists and others to find out what's available on a subject, although in most cases the Online Archive of New Mexico offers an index to the documents, not the documents themselves. However, the archive, managed by UNM
, includes a section called "School Programs" that offers classroom exercises for elementary, middle school and high school students using online material. "If we can get kids and teachers excited early on - it's a virtual world" that will benefit them, said Dennis
. For grade school kids, the archive includes an audio clip of former Lobo coach Bob King talking about playing in University Arena for the first time.The assignment tells students to describe what he's
talking about and urges them to "use your wildest imagination to create a picture in the reader's mind of the stadium, the players, the spectators and the rules of the games." A middle school assignment links to 15 pages of a booklet that describes some history of New Mexico and suggests day trips.The students are to write about one of the places to visit.The assignment offers questions to help students put their thoughts together. A similar assignment, based on a 16-page booklet of Santa Fe and northern New Mexico, asks high school students to write an essay describing why someone would want to visit the area.It tells students not to simply paraphrase the booklet, but rather to offer supporting arguments with specific references to the material. Another writing assignment shows images of New Mexico travel brochures from the 1950s and asks students to write their own.
...Although Dennis and Kathlene Ferris, archivist for UNM's Center for Southwest Research, have given presentations on the online archive to gatherings of teachers and librarians, they say awareness has spread largely by word of mouth.