HOBART | During the month of February, third graders at Joan Martin Elementary School got to experience immigration firsthand with a study trip to the Swedish American Museum in Chicago.
Students began their trip with a tour of the museum's permanent exhibit: "The Dream of America: Swedish Immigration to Chicago." During their guided tour, the students learned about the push and pull factors that prompted immigration in the early 1900s. They learned about the hardships of the voyage to America and viewed life-size mannequins depicting the awe-inspiring arrival at Ellis Island.
The tour then moved upstairs to the Brunk Children's Museum of Immigration. Students were taken "back in time" to the interactive, hands-on museum to experience immigration for themselves. They prepared for their journey by dressing in traditional Swedish garb (cotton work shirts for the boys and simple shift dresses for the girls) and learning how to greet others in Swedish. Finally, the students were ready to travel to a century-old farmhouse in Sweden.
While in early 20th-century Sweden, Joan Martin's third graders performed daily tasks like milking the cows, preparing meals, bringing in wood, and washing the laundry. Soon after, they "bought" boarding passes for the museum's 20-foot immigrant steamship, where they hopped aboard and made their journey to America. Upon arriving in the States, they traveled to a log cabin, where they rode a wooden horse, caught some fish, and harvested vegetables for dinner.
For more information on the Swedish American Museum, visit www.swedishamericanmuseum.org