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Museums and the Web

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Join the Student Sit-Ins Classroom Videos

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Smithsonian Institution- National Museum of American History


Filmed by Hillman & Carr


Audio | Visual | Podcast


The Join the Student Sit-Ins video and associated teachers guide excel in bringing the power of the museum theater experience into the classroom and in enabling teachers to easily facilitate a conversation about the presentation and the strategy of nonviolent direct action.  This resource consists of a series of five short videos in which a fictional character from 1960 conducts a training session for people interested in joining a student sit-in to protest racial segregation. The production is staged before an original piece of the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro that was the site of the 1960 sit-ins.

The Join the Student Sit-Ins program, winner of the 2009 Smithsonian Excellence in Education award, was launched in 2008 and is one of the museum’s most popular events, a participatory program which helps visitors confront the realities of civil rights protest through an understanding of the preparation required for nonviolent direct action.  The video resource and related classroom guides help bring the participatory elements of this theater experience to the classroom with suggestions for a classroom simulation, full transcripts for classroom reenactments, and discussion questions.  The video is available as a full 22-minute session or as a production in five acts, allowing for flexibility of presentation based on the needs of individual schools and classes, and the staging is designed to involve the viewers and incite conversations about the powerful stories objects can tell.