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Young Okinawan Taiko performer, Waikiki, Hawaii, detail from poster. Photo by David M. Simabukuro,1998.
Young Okinawan Taiko performer, Waikiki, Hawaii, detail from poster. Photo by David M. Simabukuro,1998.

Explore Your Community: A Community Heritage Poster for the Classroom

Mapping Your World

Explore Your Community Poster Panel Four

Popular culture (TV, the movies, shopping malls, and fast food restaurants) sometimes makes it seem that one place in America is just like every other place. But all communities—whether urban, suburban, or rural—have their own cultural heritage. Who you are is often closely linked to where you live. Individuals may assume regional identities such as Southerner, Westerner, Hoosier (a person from Indiana), or Piney (a resident of New Jersey's Pine Barrens). Distinctive ways of speaking, dressing, dancing, making chili, or decorating a car can also become ways for expressing regional or local identity.

What You Can Do

Create a Tour:

Create an auto tour map, audiotape, "virtual" Web site tour, or walking plan of significant or curious places in your city or county that outsiders would be interested to know about. Historic buildings, local cemeteries, places with local legends, and places that have significance within your community play an important role in your world. Plot sites on your map with descriptive material about each place. Research their history or geology and interview people who may know something about their origin or know stories about them. Can you find old photos of these places? Do any places on your tour have names that don't exist on printed maps? Interview local people to find out more about place-names and local history.

Study Old Buildings or a Business District:

Study and document a historically significant building in your community. Measure it, do rough sketches of its dimensions, photograph it. Is the architecture characteristic of your community or region? Is the building made from a particular kind of stone, clay, or other material native to your area? How has it been used over time? What role did it play in the economic or social life of the community? What was happening in history when it was built? Can you find information about the builders, masons, or inhabitants of the building? Do library research in old newspapers and local histories about it; interview older members of the community about it.

 

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   September 30, 2014
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