Written by Erica Gonzalez
With the aid of the Young Canada Works grant, I have been able to join the Alberta Aviation Museum staff as their museum assistant. In the few months of joining the team, we have been hard at work developing a new education program to join the popular Theory of Flight program. Despite the up and downs of the last few months, we are excited to announce the Hidden in ‘Plane’ sight program!
The In ‘Plane’ Sight program tackles the topic of citizenship and identity for students in Kindergarten to Grade 4 by illustrating how aviation and aviation history uses symbols to display parts of group and self-identity. The program will begin by introducing students to the rich history of aviation in Edmonton and Canada as a whole, and the role aviation had in creating a diverse community. When creating the program, I wished to incorporate two significant elements of the museum experience in the program: the artifacts and the stories of different aviation personnel. For together, these elements provide a more comprehensive understanding of citizenship and identity in aviation.
The program is designed around the Alberta Aviation Museum’s new goals for their educational program. The Alberta Aviation museum redevelopment plans for their education programs include:
- The flexibility to meet individual classes’ needs
- To create more diverse curriculum content
- To have a program be structured for various grade levels
- To be interactive for students
- To have the ability to be presented in a virtual format.
In designing the In ‘Plane’ Sight program, the main goals were to speak and engage with students from various age groups with a focus on being flexible, interactive, and virtual. With the addition of providing students with a glimpse into the history of aviation and allowing students to be an active part of their learning experience.
As a result, the In ‘Plane’ Sight program includes a virtual live session that addresses the concept of symbols and how we see them in aviation. A look into our uniform collection and the wonderful stories of important figures in Edmonton’s and Canada’s aviation history such as Wilfred (Wop) May, Katherine Stinson, Cedric Mah and the 418 Edmonton Squadron. The program aims to have students gain a better understanding of the intersection between self and group identity and how symbols are used throughout history to illustrate identity and the importance of local history. The programs also provide three activities that allow students to expand on their creativity and critical thinking.
We have now opened booking availability in the new year to provide the program to new audiences. With virtual and remote education being a new element of the Alberta Aviation Museum educational programs, the museum hopes to continue to expand our programs to showcase new topics and experiences!