Living Museum 2024

Missouri history knowledge personified at Oak Grove Elementary
Posted on 04/16/2024
Taya Johnson, Adalyn Mae Tinsley and Marni Bea Ray.

Oak Grove Elementary School hosted its annual Famous Missourians Living Museum on Thursday, March 28 – the culmination of several weeks of preparation and the first major research project for the third graders.

“Literally months of researching Missouri facts, having their speeches memorized, bringing in their own props; seeing where they started to everything being top-notch today,” commented Kaisha Pigg, third grade teacher. “It’s amazing what they can do at just 8 or 9 years old.”

The students selected from 18 categories featuring activists, artists, athletes, entrepreneurs, explorers, politicians and writers on a running list of 135 state trailblazers that included Maya Angelou, George Washington Carver, Walter Cronkite, Dick Van Dyke and Rose O’Neill.

Families were invited to observe the students at their presentation boards in character, reciting facts about their chosen figures. “It’s a lot of different skills at the same time, concluding with public speaking,” explained third grade teacher Christine Walker, noting that a half-hour of class time was designated each day leading up to the event.

The first time the real-life wax museum activity appeared in an Oak Grove yearbook was during the 2009/10 school year, confirmed reading teacher Staci Barker. The precursor to the tradition, which originally began with fourth graders, was what individuals with ties to the elementary school recall as the Missouri history notebook.

Poplar Bluff High School senior Carson Todd, who was tutoring last month at Oak Grove through the AmeriCorps program, was able to remember who his famous Missourian was during the 2015/16 school year: American football player Dan Connolly of the New England Patriots.

A Chesterfield native, Connolly played for Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Todd could still recite from his research. A Patriots fan at the time, Todd said he had to obtain special permission to portray the NFL player from his then teacher, Kristie Robinson, now principal.


Cutline: Taking a selfie at the Famous Missourians Living Museum are (left to right) Taya Johnson as Annie Fisher, Adalyn Mae Tinsley as Laura Ingalls Wilder and Marni Bea Ray as Sheryl Crow.

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