Since 1995, the Wolfsonian-FIU has been working with the Miami-Dade public school system on a collaborative project entitled: Page at a Time. Developed by the Wolfsonian’s education staff, this interdisciplinary program has provided language arts, social studies, and visual arts school teachers with a methodology designed to help their fifth and sixth grade students learn how to be more critical and discerning consumers of the visual images and messages with which they are increasingly bombarded. The students themselves come to the museum for three visits, participating in tours and workshops designed to inspire their own book-making projects. Working with their teachers, each student contributes one page of text and images to a book that is collectively created and bound by the class as a whole. The projects invariably revolve around the twin themes of “conflict and resolution,” but the teachers and students are free to decide whether they wish to focus on social, ecological, technological, military, political, or personal topics.

Today, this project included for the first time a visit by high school students who will serve as mentors for this year’s round of fifth graders. Twenty-three Hialeah Gardens High School students came to the library for an hour and a half presentation covering the history of the book, and an up-close look at some rare and unusual bindings in our collection, including: a Japanese scroll book and accordian-style book, an elephant portfolio of lithographs by Rembrandt, a papier-mâché contoured binding by the Wiener Werkstatte, several Futurist and Constructivist masterpieces, and some quirky sales catalogs and cookbooks. They also had the opportunity to look at some of the collaborative book projects produced by students participating in the program in years past.

Pictured above are a few of the unusual bindings they had the opportunity to review.

~ by "The Chief" on November 16, 2009.

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