Story posted October 27, 2009
The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum is offering bus subsidy grants to K-12 schools. The subsidies are possible due to generous donations to the Arctic Museum's Bowdoin College Friends Fund initiative. The Museum staff hopes that the grants will allow teachers experiencing school budget cuts to continue to bring their classes to the Arctic Museum. Over the last year, 152 classes comprising 3,645 students visited the Arctic Museum and used its resources.
Students learn about Arctic animals, northern climates, Inuit culture, and Arctic exploration on museum tours. They investigate the museum's touch boxes, where they can hold a walrus tusk, try on Inuit snow goggles or use Inuit drill bows. Through prior arrangement, classes can work on student writing and drawing skills as well, or the class can listen to Inuit stories.
Any school with 25 percent or more of its students receiving free or reduced-fee lunches is eligible for the subsidy. The Arctic Museum will subsidize up to $150 per bus trip, with each school limited to a $300 subsidy. Grants to eligible schools will be awarded on a first-application-received basis and will be available until the subsidy fund is depleted. In addition, the Museum will continue to provide guides to lead tours of museum exhibits if a teacher requests guides. The tour guides, known as docents, are Arctic Museum volunteers who generously give of their time, and work-study students, many interested in the Arctic or teaching careers.
The Arctic Museum does not charge tour fees, but teachers are asked to call and schedule tours. People interested in volunteering at the Arctic Museum are welcome to call as well, as the 2009-2010 tour guide training program has just started.