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Broomfield Veterans Museum keeps history alive through a traveling trunk

Teachers can use the trunk to further education on American wars

Technology, the home front and a day in the life of a soldier are only three of the things area students are learning from the Broomfield Veterans Museum traveling trunk.

David Little, the education volunteer at the museum, said in-person visitation from schools has been on the decline for museums over the years, especially when COVID-19 hit. 

The lack of field trips is “an economic change we are seeing in schools overall,” Little said adding the decline has been happening for five to ten years. “It’s hard to get funding and the time to pull kids out of a classroom, it’s just hard for a teacher to pull off a field trip these days.”  

Little began to research how to “take the museum to the classroom.” Through his search, he came across the idea of a traveling trunk, a program used by many museums across the country. 

Little gathered extra artifacts throughout the museum on World War II and put them in the chest. He then set out to build a small series of curricula the schools can use based on the students’ interests and the time allotted to the topic. 

Little drew his curriculum ideas from questions asked during tours of the museum, most of which centered around the technology at the time, what life was like for a soldier then and how things were changing on the home front in Colorado.

Little said, not only does the trunk teach students about World War II but it is tied back to the state of Colorado. 

“We wanted it as home-based as we could (make it).” Little said.

The concept took off in nearby schools as Little introduced the truck to area school districts. Its popularity soared to the point that the Adams 12 School District asked for a trunk to be dedicated to its teachers. 

“We have had more kids see (history) this way than have come in (the museum) so far this year,” Little explained.

The first trunk is dedicated to the European theatre, Little said with artifacts from the home front, Germany and U.S. Army. The second trunk inlcudes artifacts from the U.S. Navy and the Pacific theatre including a Japanese helmet. 

“The goal is to make it easy for a teacher to talk to the topic. Some teachers allocate a day to the topic, some allocate a week. We want to give them the tools to do it,” Little said.

Because Little is unable to keep the trunk at the museum, due to interest, “a great problem to have,” he said, he has begun building a second World War II trunk. However, it won’t stop there.

Little said he plans to use the knowledge of other Broomfield Veteran Museum volunteers to build trunks that cover the Vietnam War, Desert Storm and possibly World War I.

 

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