Interactive Museum Teaches Kids History, Culture

April 13, 2007

As Major League Baseball began this month, the timing was perfect for Oklahoma Baptist University students to create an interactive children's museum with the theme "Baseball: It's More Than a Game."

On April 3, fifth graders from Grove School in Shawnee participated in the educational experience. The "museum," located in OBU's Geiger Center, featured a study of baseball's influence on American history and culture.

Dr. Jeanne Akin, OBU associate professor of teaching education, said the children's museum emphasized baseball in America is more than "how to throw a ball or hit a home run" and featured its impact on the nation's history.

Akin said her students created the museum as part of her elementary and middle school social studies methods class.

"They are learning how to prepare activities in a developmentally appropriate manner for students this age," she said. "They learn about passion in teaching and what it means to work together because it is not easy to put this up in one night's time."

One exhibit centered on racial integration, showing a documentary on Jackie Robinson and his influence on breaking baseball's color barrier. The setting resembled a sandlot ball field with pictures of ball players from the former Negro League on display.

Another section focused on women in baseball, during the World War II era, which was heightened by the motion picture A League of Her Own. OBU students taught the fifth graders what women ballplayers experienced, such as charm school and other standards to emphasize character qualities of the time.

Children also participated in scavenger hunts to find historical facts and accomplishments by baseball legends. The museum also had a mini-"Cooperstown" theater featuring scenes from well-known baseball movies such as A Field of Dreams, The Rookie and The Natural as well as Abbott and Costello's famous comic routine "Who's on First."

Many in the OBU community contributed to the baseball memorabilia that was on display.