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MOTAL Makes Debut In College of Education

Horace Mann

The Museum of Teaching and Learning (MOTAL) debuted recently in the lobby of the College of Education at CSULB with a special exhibit paying tribute to the father of American Public Education, Horace Mann. The interactive display, the first of three, kicked off the 2006-07 academic year and continues through Dec. 1. It explores Mann’s successes and struggles and includes descriptions, video, and creations in a showcase with glass front and filtered lighting.

The recorded voice of Mann is actually CSULB graduate Ed Arnold of KOCE-TV being interviewed by a student reporter. The recording complements a film segment that features Mann’s dedicated work to create equality in public schools. Gigantic photographic images show him as a young man turned toward some of his accomplishments. Guests are also able to compare their own dimensions to a life-sized “Flat Horace” who stands outside the case, and can enjoy his posted quotes and think about how Mann’s work in the mid-19th century influenced schools of today. There is also a Mann Library of books and reprints.

“I’m delighted by the launching of the Museum of Teaching and Learning at CSULB,” said Greta Nagel, newly retired member of the Teacher Education Department and founder of the museum. “There’s nothing like it anywhere. This is a museum that does not honor teachers so much as it honors their influence in the world.”

In the museum-to-come, exhibits and special activities will help explain phenomena from simple customs such as why apples are for teachers to how our brains acquire and retain knowledge. Each month, visitors will get to observe a different exhibit of “Class Behind the Glass,” a real class of students chosen to come with their teacher from their hometown to engage in their daily learning activities…in a fishbowl environment.

“Horace Mann was the first to fight for education to reflect true democracy. He stood for equity in education, the same things we are dealing with today,” said Nagel.

Seeing her utopian dream emerging, Nagel is looking forward to the success of “the first museum of teaching and learning,” she said.

“None of this would be possible without the ongoing input from four ‘dream teams,’ seven faculty and staff coworkers on my exhibit team, two administrative assistants, two university interns, 12 advisory committee members, almost 200 contributors, and seed funding from the nonprofit National Education Institute and from Edison International.”

More information about the museum is available at motal.org or by emailing Nagel at nagel@csulb.edu.