Thirty-one Haileyville sixth and seventh grade GEAR UP students recently visited the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa, Okla. The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art offered students a glimpse into Jewish art, culture, traditions, and history, including the Holocaust. Students were led through the museum by docents, Donna Berryhill and Minnie Cunningham.
“One lesson from the Holocaust is that we should always remember what happened,” said Berryhill, Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art Docent.
The museum and its collections began in 1965 when a local synagogue brought a traveling exhibit to Tulsa from a Jewish museum in New York. In 2000, the museum was renamed the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art to recognize the achievements and contributions of its first curator, Sherwin Miller. The museum shares a campus with the Jewish Federation of Tulsa.
Haileyville’s sixth and seventh grade students have read several books about World War II and the Holocaust in their language arts classes, including the Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Night, and The Devil’s Arithmetic.
“Students have been learning about the Jewish history and the Holocaust in their language arts classes,” said Brianna Brassfield, GEAR UP Education Coordinator. “The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art really helped exemplify and expand their knowledge of the topic.”
The museum’s upper level displays a collection of Jewish art and artifacts. The lower level of the museum features the Herman and Kate Kaiser Holocaust Exhibition. Most of the items and artifacts have been donated by veterans who took part in the liberation of the German concentration camps, Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, and family members of those who died in the Holocaust.
While at the museum, students had the opportunity to participate in the Kinder Stone Project. Students each received a small, flat rock with a name and age written on it, which commemorates the thousands of Jewish children killed during the Holocaust. Students decorated the rocks using colored Sharpie markers. The rocks will be showcased throughout the museum.
After touring the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, students enjoyed the lunch buffet at Mazzio’s. During lunch, students shared their favorite experiences at the museum as well as things they learned throughout the day.
“I had no idea so many different groups of people were involved in the Holocaust,” said Haileyville sixth grade student Macie Graves. “Of all the places in the world, it is cool that a lot of the history of the Holocaust is now shared in Tulsa, Oklahoma.”
The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural/educational in nature. Eastern recently received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant and will serve over 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.