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Five Questions with Stacie Moats, Education Specialist, Library of Congress Interpretive Programs Office

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The following is a guest post from Stacie Moats of the Interpretive Programs Office of the Library of Congress.

Describe what you do at the Library of Congress and the materials you work with.Stacie Moats

The Interpretive Programs Office develops Library of Congress exhibitions and related educational programming that bring the Library’s unparalleled collections to life. As this team’s Education Specialist, my role is to develop, coordinate and facilitate exhibition-related activities, including tours and public programs, for visitors ranging from K-12 students and teachers to families, lifelong learners, and even Members of Congress. For me, the best part of my job is sharing the Library’s treasures–the actual “stuff” that bears witness to history–with visitors from across the country and around the world. Even if you can’t visit with your family or bring students on a field trip to Washington, D.C., you can explore more than 100 Library of Congress exhibitions online.

Freeman Hrabowski
Freeman Hrabowski

Do you have a favorite item from the Library’s online collections?

Wow, that’s a really tough question to answer because I have so many “favorites” for so many different reasons. So, I’ll choose my favorite audiovisual clip from more than 70 featured in the Library’s current exhibition, The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom. In this interview footage from the Civil Rights History Project collection, Professor Freeman Hrabowski, President of University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), remembers joining the Birmingham Children’s Crusade at the age of 12. An ambitious student, he describes his immediate reactions to hearing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speak in person for the first time and how Dr. King’s message of hope empowered him and others to change the world. I often encourage middle and high school students visiting the exhibition to watch this clip because they can really relate to the youthful perspective recalled so eloquently by Professor Hrabowski. I think it’s an incredibly powerful first-person narrative.

Share a time when an item from the collections sparked your curiosity.

Recently, I had the opportunity to closely examine and even hold (with gloves!) pre-Columbian artifacts from the Jay I. Kislak collection as part of a special enrichment class for Library docents. Previously, I knew very little about the priceless literary cultural heritage that survives on Maya vessels and artifacts. I’m excited to learn more about the ancient Maya, who developed the most sophisticated writing system in the Americas, and other indigenous cultures of Mesoamerica featured in the Library’s exhibition, Exploring the Early Americas.

Tell us about a memorable interaction with a K-12 teacher or student.

I interact on a daily basis with visitors of all ages, and they constantly remind me that the Library of Congress is truly about lifelong learning. No matter your age, you will learn something new when you visit our exhibitions! One of my most memorable interactions, however, was with a third grader. As I walked with her class to visit Thomas Jefferson’s Library, she tugged on my sleeve to ask me, “So, what was it like to meet Mr. Jefferson?” I was happy to respond that I’m not that old.

What’s one thing you’d like to tell teachers about the materials that you work with or the collections in general?

The Library’s digitized primary sources and online exhibitions are invaluable for classroom teaching; however, I’m always advocating for teachers to help students experience and appreciate the original manuscripts, photographs, maps, etc. Often, visitors can’t believe I am showing them “the real stuff” because so much of what we encounter now in everyday life is born digital or a copy of an original. Please encourage students and their families to visit museums and libraries in your local communities so that future generations will continue to collect, preserve and share our history!


Comments (3)

  1. Thanks for wonderful insights and observations that capture the enjoyment and value of student and teacher visits to the Library — either virtually or in person!

  2. Great post Stacie! Love the question form the third grader. As always, we look forward to learning more from your incredible work with the Library’s exhibitions!

  3. I live in NYC but would love to take my students on an actual field trip to DC and the LOC; will have to just settle now for the next best thing, artifacts. Like you said, visiting their local museums and libraries is the best way to encourage resourcefulness and preservation in our culture!
    Ms. Murphy,

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