Introduction: McKenna Crews

Hello! Sorry I am so late to the party but I am here now so buckle up!

My name is McKenna Crews and I am a first year MA Public History student. I was born and raised in the Buckeye state and moved to Indiana to triple major at Ball State University for Social Studies Education, History, and Public History with minors in African American Studies and Political Science. I am also currently an 8th grade Civics teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools at Lake Braddock Secondary School. My history interests include focusing on the Gold Coast of Africa and the slave trade that took place there. I received an award at the Ball State University History Conference last year for best undergraduate paper for my thesis on this topic. I am interested in museum education as well and how to make it more accessible to students in low socioeconomic status school districts.

My entire family is made up of teachers and I grew up around education and its importance to future generations. My dad teaches 8th grade US history and is my biggest influence on becoming a historian and educator. I gained my passion for working with low income students while working at a summer camp back home in Ohio for kids with severe medical disorders who received treatment from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital as well as working with children in the foster care system and in homeless shelters throughout the greater Cincinnati, Ohio region. I went to this camp as a kid because I had cancer and it changed my life making me want to be a counselor. I worked there for 5 years working my way up to Leadership and Development Coordinator working with young adults who wanted to gain leadership experience. At camp, I realized the limited access to hands on education in schools due to funding. I made it my mission to learn as much as I could to be able to help combat this and help children and families have access to museums that had entry fees. Here I am at summer camp where my campers decided to stick a plethora of glow sticks into my hair, including a unicorn horn on top obvi!

My goal in this class is to be able to bring my knowledge of classroom education, public history, and digital networks to help make museums more accessible to students and teachers especially during the pandemic. How can I upload a virtual tour? How can I still create hands on learning in the history classroom? Can I make interactive lesson plans for teachers to follow based off of museum exhibits and curriculum? Being able to combine these passions and make history more accessible is so significant in working with low SES communities to create a partnership between the institution and the local school districts in the area.

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