Allegany: The American High School Experience

  • Allegany’s Historical Research Methods Students Work to Incorporate Museum Exhibit into School Building; Month Long American High School Experience Exhibit Saw Over 2,000 Visitors \


    Brian White’s Historical Research Methods students at Allegany High School are working hard this year to figure out how to incorporate the pieces of Allegany: The American High School Experience exhibit into the school building after a successful month-long display at the Allegany Museum. “You know how when you move into a new house, it takes a while to figure out where you want to put everything,” said Mr. White. “This is an opportunity for us to look at how and what to put into display cases, and even redo the design of some of the cases.”


    The work of last year’s HRM class, the exhibition chronicled the history of Allegany High School, one of the oldest continuously operated public school entities in the nation and a cornerstone of the Cumberland community, from 1888 through the present. The material was researched by the students and formatted to pair with artifacts as part of the visual narrative that was on display this past July.


    A feature part of the exhibit was an exact replica of the Sedgwick Street location created by White’s students entirely out of Legos. The finished product utilized a total of approximately 35,000 Lego pieces in all. “It took a long time, mainly because we didn’t know exactly how many pieces we would need to use,” said student, Cole Fiscus. “The calculation of the size of the display continued throughout the actual construction of it.” Cole’s main role in the design focused on the interior structure used to hold up the roofs and wall supports.


    “We all helped with building the walls, in general, but I mostly focused on the details of the display, like the ramps and stairs,” said student, Daniel Gregory. “I also went out last October to the old school building and took pictures of the entire exterior a month before they started tearing it down.” After the building was demolished, the group used Daniel’s pictures to replicate the school in Lego form. “I think people were pretty impressed by how detailed this was,” he said.


    Mr. White agreed. “The alumni who have seen the display during some of our school tours are really amazed, especially when you tell them it is an EXACT replica with the exact number of windows, doors, etc. They are really impressed.” The Lego display of the old Allegany High School will eventually be installed on Main Street of the high school under the main staircase.


    In addition to the Lego display, the exhibit also featured four interactive videos and a total of 24 design boards. Peyton McDonald, was one of the HRM students responsible for creating these boards. “We were able to use one of the class projects books to get the information we needed for the boards, but we did have to conduct some interviews for some of the other things, like a lot of the sports information.” These display boards will be utilized during school tours, and some of them will find a permanent home along Main Street in the school.


    According to Mr. White, more than 2,000 people visited the exhibit in July, with nearly 600 taking the opportunity to see the students’ hard work on the opening weekend. “This was the biggest number of visitors the museum has ever had,” said White. “And once people saw our exhibit, it really introduced them to the museum itself, especially for people in the local community who never really knew much about it.” Mr. White continued, “It was really a snowball of community service, by pulling people in to see the museum.”


    One of the display boards with the bios of the ten HRM students who worked so hard to make the exhibit a reality remains permanently on display at the Allegany Museum.