By Kathy Chouteau
From Ohlone Native American life more than 200 years ago, to the Gold Rush, to 1960s social unrest and more—local students are learning about the rich culture of our region courtesy of a Virtual Field Trip Program hosted by the Richmond Museum of History & Culture.
The program is powered by an Economic and Community Investment Agreement (ECIA) grant from Chevron Richmond and aims to reach local school age children with educational programming. When it launched in 2017, the program was originally intended to be delivered in person, but when the pandemic struck, it was adapted to a virtual format. It’s funded through the end of the current school year until June 2021, when the museum hopes it will continue.
“Our target audience includes all students in grades K-12 in Richmond and the surrounding areas; the majority of this area lies within the West Contra Costa Unified School District, but we do not turn away private schools or those from neighboring districts,” said Maya Colbert, who leads the museum program.
As part of the Virtual Field Trip Program, there is a customized tour for each grade level, as well as an accompanying teacher’s guide with content that adheres to the relevant California educational standards in History/Social Sciences and Speaking and Learning, according to Colbert.
The program content includes hands-on activities and extensive background information and teachers are encouraged to request that virtual tours be further adapted to their classes’ specific needs. The museum will also provide teachers with materials for accompanying lesson plans upon their request.
According to Colbert, curriculum topics for the current school year include: The Ohlone prior to 1776; The Spanish/Mission period; The Mexican/Rancho period; California statehood and the Gold Rush; Immigration; Richmond industry at the turn of the century; WWII industry and demographic changes; the 1960s and social unrest; and The Black Panther movement.
Learn more about the Richmond Museum of History & Culture here.