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Mill Creek third-graders get into character for wax museum

Third-grade teacher Sharon Santoro checks with Nicholas Chapman as he rehearses his lines as Alexander Fleming. (CONTRIBUTED)
Third-grade teacher Sharon Santoro checks with Nicholas Chapman as he rehearses his lines as Alexander Fleming. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Political leaders, authors and even the King of Rock ‘n Roll were brought to life in the third-graders’ ‘wax museum’ at Mill Creek Elementary School.

Sharon Santoro initiated the museum idea about 13 years ago when she was teaching at Heritage Elementary School. In her class, the idea materialized “as a research project along with paper models. My sister-in-law in Pennsylvania told me about my niece’s school having a wax museum,” Santoro said.

Held annually in February, Mill Creek’s wax museum honors Presidents’ Day, Black History Month and all American heroes, past and present. The event “connects children with history — to bring the arts alive and share this experience with our families and the community” Santoro said.

Mill Creek third-graders portraying characters included Noah Berry (Elvis Presley), Sarah Bierbaurer (Laura Ingalls Wilder), Savannah Hayes (Rosa Parks), Callie Scroggins (Shirley Temple), Ryan Hausermann (Meriwether Lewis) and Daniel King (Harry S. Truman).

Third-grade teachers Cheryl Campbell, Hayley Davidson Ellen Little, Kristina Maples, Katie Machado and Santoro handled the museum staging.

In preparation one month before the museum, students received a paper form for a body model and followed directions to create this model to resemble their hero. Santoro said that Abe Lincoln’s instructions stated to have “a black hat, beard and dark suit and tie.”

In addition, each student completed a research paper about their hero, following a rubric and checklist. They attached the written report to the paper body. “Using this research, each student dressed to resemble their hero. Creativity was encouraged. They also wrote a five- to six-line speech in first person about the life of their hero,” Santoro said.

In the museum, the paper bodies hung on the wall behind students. “Dressed as their hero, the student sat as still as a statue until a visitor to the museum pressed a make-believe button on the wall,” Santoro said. The student then stood, recited the biography and sat quietly until the next museum visitor pushed the button.

Noah Berry portrayed Elvis Presley in the wax museum at Mill Creek Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)
Noah Berry portrayed Elvis Presley in the wax museum at Mill Creek Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)

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