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Monday, November 12, 2012

Spellman Museum, Weston -- November 12

42° 20' 55" N

71° 18' 26" W

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(UPDATE: See photos from the visit below.)

EarthView is part of a public event at the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History, which is located on the campus of Regis College in Weston. In fact, since the museum does not have high ceilings, the college is sharing its field house for the morning.

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The stamp museum and geographers have been working together for many years, because stamps are not only fun, they are geographic! Stamps are tiny snapshots of the cultural geography of places, and they also represent the connections between places. Read more about geography and the Spellman Museum in our February article.

EarthView team member Dr. Hayes-Bohanan has had several reasons to be a fan of the Spellman Museum since learning about it a few years ago. First of all, he attended a workshop on using stamps in teaching, which he calls "stamp camp." Second, he knows that the museum does a lot of fun and educational programs for people of all ages. Finally, he learned that the museum was dedicated by Cardinal Spellman on the day he (Dr. Hayes-Bohanan) was born!

Students at Foxborough Regional Charter School display some
of their 1.5 million stamps.
Our first visit takes place on Veteran's Day (as observed), which is also known as Remembrance Day. This weekend also marks the anniversary of Kristallnacht, a pogrom early in the history of the Holocaust. Students at Foxborough Regional Charter School have been studying this terrible history, and collecting postage stamps to represent the eleven million people who were killed. After four years of collecting, this project reached a milestone of 1.5 million stamps this weekend, representing all of the children who were victims. The project was described in a Boston Globe article, and is similar to the project described in the excellent documentary film Paper Clips.

Photos from the Visit

EarthView's visit to Spellman Museum was quite a success. The museum staff publicized the event and organized the visitors, and provided stamp activities that complemented the EarthView program beautifully. A steady stream of visitors enjoyed EarthView -- and the stamps -- throughout the morning. The athletic and facilities staff at Regis College graciously provided access to the college gym, which was an excellent venue.

Photographer, geographer, and former EarthView Wrangler Ashley Costa accompanied Drs. Hayes-Bohanan and Domingo for the Spellman Museum outing. Some of her photos are posted below; the rest will be on Flickr soon.

Stamps convey many geography lessons, including flag identification.
Participants were able to choose from among thousands of stamps
in making their own world maps.
Visitors placed stamps on blank maps of the world, using place-mat maps
as a guide for finding unfamiliar countries.
The EarthView team enjoyed the scores of visitors, from infants and
toddlers through primary, secondary, and college students.
Visitors also included very knowledgeable philatelists -- some of whom
have been collecting stamps for decades -- who shared some
geography lessons of their own. 
The EarthView team is certainly looking forward to its next visit to the Spellman Museum. Meanwhile, we encourage everyone to visit the Spellman Museum -- even on days when it does not have a giant globe -- for a unique way to learn geography!

Many more of Ashley Costa's photos from the day are in the Spellman-EarthView 2012 photoset on Flickr. Quite a few of these photos were taken from inside Earthview, so identifying some of the locations is a fun challenge.

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