The Museum of Early Trades and Crafts Exhibit at MJS
The Museum of Early Trades and Crafts exhibit “Orphan to Apprentice: Child Labor in the Pre-Industrial Era” was brought to 6th graders at MJS through a grant from MEF.
The Museum’s exhibit portrays the lives of five real orphaned children who were taken from their homes and “bound out/indented” to learn reading, writing and a trade, while being provided with food and housing. The stories of the lives of these children, along with artifacts from the period, were used to illuminate and bring to life the not so ideal lives of these orphan apprentices and dovetailed with the “Coming of Age” Language Arts’ lessons and the grade six study of America’s emerging industrial society. A Museum representative accompanied the artifacts from the exhibit and all 178 sixth grade students experienced this hands-on program. Seeing the artifacts firsthand, with presentations and background provided by the museum staff, reinforced the lessons being taught in the classroom.