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Smithsonian Scholars to Visit Local Schools

Three scholars from the Smithsonian Institution will visit Long Beach Unified School District schools to conduct stimulating workshops and assemblies. Volcanologist William Melson, folklore scholar Jim Garry and clothing and costume expert Claudia Kidwell will visit as part of the Smithsonian Scholar Program March 6-12. More than 3,000 local students will benefit from the visits. The Smithsonian, the museum complex in Washington, D.C., brings scholars into schools to conduct assemblies and lectures. This year students will discover truths and misconceptions about growling beasts, or explore the history of clothing in America, or learn more about volcanoes, tsunamis, earthquakes and the active earth of Southern California. Teachers and Public Corporation for the Arts staff work together to prepare for these visits, helping the Smithsonian Scholars make their presentations fit curriculum goals to ensure the best experience possible for students. The visits are offered at no charge to schools, which were eligible to apply to host a scholar during the week. Smithsonian Week 2005 LBUSD schools are Alvarado, Buffum, Butler, Cabrillo, Chavez, Cleveland, Grant, Lakewood, Longfellow, Lowell, Madison, McKinley, Millikan, Prisk, Renaissance, Stanford, Twain, Washington and Willard. Each Smithsonian Scholar brings a wealth of study and experience to their classroom encounters in LBUSD schools. • William Melson has studied eruptions, tsunamis and volcanic hazards in Costa Rica, Peru, Philippines, Iceland, Colombia, Papua New Guinea and at Washington state’s Mt. St. Helens. He has studied and explored the deep-sea floor and acted as chief scientist on two cruises of the drilling ship Glomar Challenger. He also authored the first college-level textbook about lunar rocks and served on the Apollo 14 Preliminary Examination Team. • Jim Garry began his career as a naturalist but soon became interested in the people of the West, incorporating the natural history of the region into his work. He has worked as a cowboy, horse wrangler, media consultant, wilderness guide, teacher, political consultant, river runner, artist-in-residence, biologist, folklore collector and more. He now works as a freelance lecturer, writer and storyteller, teaching others about Western and wild land heritage. His research and teaching encompass natural history, human history, folklore and myth. • Claudia Kidwell has curated numerous exhibitions and written articles on the history of clothing and costume in America. Her research topics are as varied as the development of the ready-to-wear industry to women’s contributions to World War II efforts and how fashion reveals social issues. The Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum complex, with exhibits on American history, space travel, fine arts and other fields.