An Afternoon at the Museum

6 May

This Tuesday afternoon was not like it used to be as we brought 4 classes of children (aged between 7 and 8) to visit the museum of Ceara, located in the downtown of Fortaleza.

Waiting for the bus... and making some last minute preparations!

Waiting for the bus… and making some last minute preparations!

It may seem not so extraordinary for French pupils… but at the Escolinha, even if the great majority of them had already visited a museum, there were still some children to whom this place was totally unknown. For instance, one little girl asked a teacher what a museum was.

The children were particularly excited at the idea of going out from their usual school framework, and they were a little restless in the bus.

Ready and excited !

At their arrival at the museum, children were first welcomed in a specific room, where they were explained how they should behave and the different rules to follow in such a place.

Then, they were divided into four groups ; and each group formed a single line ready to start the visit of the museum. Not only was it an original way to discover the different rooms, but also a very efficient strategy to make sure that all the children could admire the works, (generally this is very complicated with a whole group). Besides, it was easier for the children to remain quiet and well-behaved. However we have to admit that it was sometimes difficult for us to assure that they were really paying attention and listening throughout the visit.

It sounded a bit cliché, but when we entered the Weapons Room, boys were particularly puzzled. These weapons were used in a military purpose in the seventeenth century.

Nevertheless, once in the Slavery Room where beautiful dresses were exhibited, girls were at their turn, totally amazed. These dresses represented costumes worn during   the « Maracatu ». The Maracatu is a dance on a rhythmic music practised at the Carnival parade. The Maracatu is a Brazilian tradition that goes back as far as the beginning of colonization and is inherited from the slaves’ history.

The famous Maracatu Dress !

The famous Maracatu Dress !

This room is one of the most important in the museum as the State of Ceara was the first Brazilian State to abolish slavery, four years before May 13th 1888, the official date in Brazil.

It is true that we had already visited this museum at our arrival in Fortaleza, but, it was a great (and very different!) experience to visit it one more time with Yolanda Queiroz school’s pupils; even if everything didn’t go as smoothly as we might expect. It was quite interesting to witness how children perceive their own history, and to listen to their wondering regarding Fortaleza’s construction.

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