The NOTL Youth Collective is collaborating with the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum to bring a bit of history to young people in February.
From Feb. 8 to 22, students in grades 7 to 12 registered at the collective will have a chance to participate in the NOTL Heritage Moments – Youth Curators Contest.
“I personally think it’s critical that the community and the kids understand how important our town is for Canadian heritage (and) the important things that happened here to build our country,” Caroline Polgrabia, chair of the Youth Collective’s planning committee, said in an interview.
Shawna Butts, assistant curator and education programer at the museum, will share a photo of an artifact that relates to Black History Month and is now on display at the museum.
Butts will offer a few details about the object and answer any questions participants have — but the rest is for them to find out.
“By using artifacts from our collection, the kids will be able to use historical evidence and their imagination to tell our town’s history in a fun way,” Butts said in an email to The Lake Report.
The young sleuths will need to gather research on the artifact and then, in pairs or individually, present it to their peers at the collective at the end of the month.
The goal is to learn about the object’s history, value and significance to Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Butts will leave a photo at the collective for reference, however, they students are encouraged to visit the museum and see the real thing, ask questions and build connections. The museum is open daily from 1 to 5 p.m. and admission is free in February.
On Feb. 22, participants will need to come prepared with a three-minute presentation outlining their findings.
They can present their findings in any way they want, including as a slideshow, still photos, claymation, a speech or poetry.
The winning entry will receive a $250 prize, courtesy of NOTL optometrist Dr. Marianne Hopkins.
This will be the only heritage moments contest to run during the winter program. However, Polgrabia hopes to repeat it a few times during the spring session from April and June.
Over the next four weeks the collective will be forming a youth advisory group to will help make important decisions come spring. Among them, what activities they want to bring to the collective and what the daily program will look like.
Polgrabia is going to make sure the advisory group has youth of different ages and from each region of NOTL — St. Davids, Glendale, Old Town, Virgil and Queenston.
In the coming weeks she’ll send a call-out email to the 56 young people so far registered at the collective to see who is interested.
The volunteers will be there to guide and support the group, however, “They’re gonna make the final decisions when we get into the spring season,” said Polgrabia.
In the meantime, the collective has a lot of voluntary activities in the works.
Young people in grades 7 to 12 must be registered to attend any of the drop-ins and activities. The registration form can be found at Notlyouth.com.