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Kentville students create French Heritage Minute

Sam Churchill, left, and David McCulley show off the costumes they wore while filming a French Heritage Minute for a recent school assignment at the Kings County Museum.
Sam Churchill, left, and David McCulley show off the costumes they wore while filming a French Heritage Minute for a recent school assignment at the Kings County Museum. - Submitted

KENTVILLE - A group of Grade 7 French Immersion students had a chance to step back in time with a recent social studies project exploring Canadian confederation.

Sam Churchill, David McCulley, Fiona Johnson and Noah Burch Pottie donned costumes from the 1870s and headed to the Kings County Courthouse museum in Kentville to film a heritage moment vignette.

Teacher Whitney Parker says each group was assigned a colony and they had to research whether or not that colony wanted to join Confederation and for what reasons, then film a heritage minute video about it.

Churchill says his group researched Prince Edward Island. The group started doing research at school, so they could better understand PEI’s role in Confederation.

“I learned how PEI declined confederation in the first place because they thought they would lose their culture,” says Churchill. “Later, they chose to join because they were having financial problems and joining would help them clear their debt. Also, Canada would build a railway from coast to coast.”

From there, Churchill says their group wrote the script and decided to film it at the museum to make it more authentic. The museum was a lot less modern, so it made it feel more like the 1800s, he says. Everything was wooden with old pictures on the wall.

Out of the whole video making process from research to script writing and film editing, Churchill says the hardest part was trying to get it right when they were doing their videos.

To help play the part, Churchill says they secured costumes from family, friends and CentreStage Theatre to make them look like they were from the 1870s.

Curator of the Kings County Courthouse Museum, Bria Stokesbury, said the museum was thrilled to have young people show initiative in using their location.

Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, the museum, says Stokesbury, has played host to many student projects, including mock trails of famous individuals such as Joseph Howe and Louis Riel and NSCC students learning about provincial law through holding classes there. So, when this group of Grade 7 students approached them to ask about filming on location, the museum was happy to oblige.

“It is part of a long tradition at the Kings County Museum of opening our doors to student creativity,” says Stokesbury. “It was inspiring to see how seriously they took their project and fun to see their enthusiasm at the same time.”

Stokesbury says the Kings Historical Society and Kings County Museum can help students in many other ways other than just providing an authentic, historical film location.

“We have a genealogical archives and community history archive which provides wonderful researching opportunities for young people,” she says.

The museum also has contacts with all kinds of specialists who can give advice and information on local history, she added.

Parker says she was really impressed the students did this, adding that the project went beyond her expectations. Using a setting like this, she says, makes the videos that much more real. She believes projects like these are important because it pushes students to explore and investigate on their own, giving them creative outlets other than simply using a computer or pen and paper.

It was the first year to have the students complete this project this way, through video, but Parker says she was very happy with the way the videos came together and can’t wait to try this assignment again next year.

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