Roundtable Current Exhibitions | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

"The success of the Education & Arts Roundtable projects lies fundamentally in the relationships that are fostered among the teacher, scientists, Museum educators, artist and students."
Annie Lefkowitz, Teacher, Roundtable Member

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Now on View in Inter/Act!

"Bridge Over Time: How Do People Use Public Spaces?"
June 26 - September 12, 2010

Visit the Roundtable program's latest exhibition in Inter/Act, featuring an after-school project in which students from Parras Middle School discovered the history of their Redondo Beach neighborhood through History, Language Arts, and Theatre.

See Project Ideas for downloads of full project summary, photos gallery, and project video.

The Inter/Act gallery space is located on Level 1 of the Museum.

Teacher Share Out!

“I found that students like history when they feel the connection to it.”
– Diane Young, 7th grade History teacher

Teacher Share Out

“Working with the Museum has made me feel relevant to the community outside of my school and has reinvigorated my love for teaching.”
Amy Beran, 7th grade History teacher

Voices from the Community

"The Education & Arts Roundtable is the most remarkable educational program that I have ever photographed.  The joy and wonderment I see in the children as they are awakening to the natural world is an inspiration.  I believe that this program is so important that it should be implemented in schools and museums everywhere." 
Don Farber, Photographer and Fulbright Scholar

Ideas for Learning

Explore K-12 project ideas created by Roundtable education and community collaborations. Discover project-based lessons and activities that promote interdisciplinary learning through science, language arts, history, and the visual and performing arts.


Have you seen our new exhibit in Inter/Act?

"Bridge Over Time: How Do People Use Public Spaces?"

June 26 - September 12, 2010


What is this project about?

“Bridge Over Time” is a collaborative after-school project with Parras Middle School, the Natural History Museum, and the Redondo Beach, CA, community.  Middle school students explored the history of Redondo Beach, and reflected on place and change, and their contributions to their community today and tomorrow.  Posed with the question, “How and why do public places change over the course of time and who is responsible for those changes?” their discoveries resulted in a student-written play, including period costumes, backdrops, and digital storytelling, that conveyed the life and times of Redondo Beach’s Veterans Park through the eyes of historic and fictional characters.  “Bridge Over Time” was performed at Parras Middle School on May 21, 2010, and the project is currently displayed in the Museum’s Inter/Act space.

See Project Ideas for downloads of full project summary and photo gallery.

Tell Us More!

Some 50 students participated in the extracurricular project, meeting once a week with specialists from the Museum and greater Redondo Beach community.  Guided by a dedicated team of social studies, language arts and drama teachers, student-researchers immersed themselves in the history of their city, wondering how their hometown came into being.  Who were the original residents who inhabited the 6.3 square miles currently known as Redondo Beach? What were their stories? How did they use the land?

Curiosity replaced malaise.  The city, the place students had long taken for granted as a place “where we live and go to school,” became a living, breathing, thriving source of plot, evolving setting, conflicts and nonfiction characters, each individual having loved and struggled in his or her own way to improve their fair city by the sea.

In their quest to understand the past, present and future, students conducted primary source research, interviewing historian and author, Pat Dreizler, who generously shared stories of Redondo Beach’s colorful early days. Next, they read newspaper, magazine, book and Internet secondary source accounts. Researchers then visited the city’s Historical Museum and met with docents who shared artifacts and personal stories of Redondo lore.

Members of the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce were invited to provide yet again another perspective as to why cities change:  Consumer and economic need dictate development, they suggested, adding that businesses not only contribute valuable tax dollars to the city, they offer residents goods, social services, and recreational experiences. Chamber members challenged students to think as futurists. Consider the needs of tomorrow’s citizens. “What are your ideas?” they asked. “How would you make the city a better place?

How and why do places change? After months of investigation, that unwieldy initial question began to narrow in focus as students explored how a pricey piece of oceanside real estate, the former Redondo Beach Public Library located in Veterans Park, has changed. Urged by Chamber members to think out of the box, they explored what would happen to the historic library if it were razed?

In that moment, the project’s end product was birthed -- the student play, “Bridge Over Time.”

--Janet Barker, English Language Arts Teacher

Did you have any transformative teacher/student moments?

“As an educator I seek out opportunities to enrich my students' learning and my own experiences as their teacher.  Working with the Museum has made me feel relevant to the community outside of my school and has reinvigorated my love for teaching.”
– Social Studies teacher Amy Beran

“I have done many productions by myself.  This was very enjoyable since I was working with three other teachers.  We each selected one aspect of the production and supported each other’s needs.  I felt we were able to accomplish more working as a team.”
– Theatre teacher Gerel Santiago

“Seeing the City of Redondo Beach and the potential for change, while still clinging to our past, I felt a sense of pride that I could be part of that change.  I found that students like history when they feel the connection to it.  They also liked looking to the future to see how they can make their community better.”
–History teacher Diane Young

“What a complete and utter joy it was watching young writers work together and craft a story that was both historically accurate, yet compelling and original. They created characters with plausible back stories, and developed a plot that kept audiences wondering.”
–English Language Arts teacher Janet Barker

Artist Reflection

As a participating teaching visual artist, what was your process in this project?

From the researching to the writing to the scenic design to the props, the Veterans Park play was completely student-driven.  As the Roundtable Visual Artist, I helped the student scenic designers create the backdrop for the play.  In only a few short sessions, these students efficiently and enthusiastically created a colorful, graphic replica of the historic library and surrounding scenery at Veterans Park in Redondo Beach.

View step-by-step student process here >

Tell us about your own practice.

In my interdisciplinary work, I investigate broad themes such as permanent/temporary, the authority of the artifact/monument, and the bond between urban and natural. My process-driven work manifests in many media and interacts with the public in unconventional ways.  Most recently, I have been creating earthen monuments out of temporary materials (dirt, clay, straw, sand, and live plants) intended to be reclaimed by natural forces and commemorate the sites in Los Angeles where the urban and rural meet.

--Libby Gerber, Teaching Artist

How are visitors responding to this question in the Inter/Act space?

Question and visitor comments to come!