Young Historians, Living Histories

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Korean students learn how to operate video equipment and edit their material for the assignment from the Smithsonian.
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Young Historians, Living Histories

Institute of Texan Cultures one of 10 Smithsonian Affiliates selected for Asian Pacific American Center program

 
SAN ANTONIO – The Institute of Texan Cultures has been chosen as one of 10 recipients of the Young Historians, Living Histories Grant funded by the Smithsonian Institution. The grant is a collaborative educational program that draws on the exhibition, "I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story," from the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center (APAC) to work with underserved youth from Asian Pacific American communities. The goal of the program is to encourage young historians to explore and better understand the history and culture of the Asian Pacific American community while learning to utilize new technology.
 
The Institute of Texan Cultures has been tasked with preparing a contingent of Asian Pacific American high school students to record and present oral histories. The ITC is the only affiliate to partner with a Korean community.
 
San Antonio’s Korean community identified 12 students (three teams of four) and three Korean immigrants to participate in the project. The Korean Association of America – San Antonio hosts an annual scholarship essay contest for their youth to research and understand aspects of their native culture. Components of the contest usually include some manner of first-hand research and interviewing members of thecommunity. This Smithsonian project is an innovative way to engage and encourage students to learn more about the heritage and why they are important to the continuity of their cultural heritage.
 
The Institute of Texan Cultures will work with the students to hone their methods for collecting oral histories, asking questions that yield compelling and clear answers, while collecting the information responsibly and ethically.
 
"Oral histories are stories told by living people about the past as they experienced it," said Sarah Gould, lead curatorial researcher at the Institute of Texan Cultures. "For community members, this is an opportunity to share details and feelings that are specific to their individual memories. For the students, this is an opportunity to get an inside perspective into what it was like to live at a particular time."
 
For the technical aspects of the project, the Institute of Texan Cultures will team the students with Joseph Lopez, an assistant professor of convergent media at San Antonio’s University of the Incarnate Word. Lopez will instruct the students on principles of media production, so they can record and edit their own videos.
 
"Aside from recording historically significant material, these students will contribute to the Smithsonian Institution’s body of work," said Angelica Docog, executive director at the Institute of Texan Cultures. "Projects like these also are gateways that can lead to different career paths and opportunities. Some students may become fascinated by the historic subjects they discuss, some by the documentary style of the interviews, some by the media production."
 
Docog added that the project is a way for the Institute of Texan Cultures to fill in
the 40 years since its opening. While the museum faces limited space and resources to expand its main exhibit floor and the cultures represented, images and oral histories collected from the community can tell the stories of Texas’ and San Antonio’s more recently arrived ethnic groups.
 
Finished videos will be posted on the APAC "I Want the Wide American Earth" website, http://apa.si.edu/heritage/exhibition.html , in December 2013. The Institute of Texan Cultures will retain local copies. The public will be able to access resources that were provided to students during their workshops via a mobile app.
 
The Institute of Texan Cultures is located on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Regular hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults (ages 12-64); $7 for seniors (ages 65+); $6 for children (ages 3-11); free with membership, UTSA or Alamo Colleges identification. For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit TexanCultures.com.
 
The Institute of Texan Cultures serves as the forum for the understanding and appreciation of Texas and Texans through research, collections, exhibits, and programs. The museum strives to become the nation’s premier institution of contemporary cultural and ethnic studies focusing on Texans and the diverse cultural communities that make Texas what it is. An agency of the Vice President for Community Services at The University of Texas at San Antonio and a Smithsonian Affiliate, the 182,000 square foot complex, featuring 45,000 square feet of exhibit space and five re-creation Texas Frontier period structures, is located on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus in downtown San Antonio. Resources for multiple audiences are available at TexanCultures.com.
 
The Korean American Association of San Antonio is a non-profit organization. Its main activities include advocacy for the Korean community in San Antonio and offering outreach activities for the community at large. It is dedicated to offering programs and activities that unite the Korean community with San Antonio, in celebration of Korean and Texan traditions.
 
Young Historians Living Histories is funded by the Smithsonian Institution’s Youth Access Grants program managed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access. The project is led by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (SAPAC), in partnership with the Smithsonian Affiliations (SA) and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).
 
 
 

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