Arkansas history comes alive for Farmington teacher
FAYETTEVILLE — There’s something to be said for developing Arkansas history lesson plans in a house where history was made.
That’s the case for Farmington teacher Andrea Jenkins.
Jenkins, a second-grade teacher at Jerry “Pop” Williams Elementary School, is spending her summer at the Clinton House Museum writing a new curriculum that can be used for Arkansas history and civics lessons, with an emphasis on leadership.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Clinton, were married in the living room of the house located near the University of Arkansas, and it was the only home they shared together before entering state and national politics. From this house, they moved to Little Rock where Bill Clinton served as Arkansas attorney general.
Jenkins said the curriculum will meet state standards for social studies. The end goal for her work is that the lessons can be used in the classroom.
Angie Albright, director, said the Clinton House Museum is shifting its focus to add more programs, especially for children in the area.
“We have people come here from all over the world, but we want to be a resource for local people as well,” Albright said.
Jenkins is tasked with a project to figure out how the museum’s mission can meet state educational standards and be a new resource for teachers in Arkansas.
Albright said older people remember Bill Clinton because he was president of the United States, but now many young people and those from other countries are interested in learning more about Hillary Clinton, who served as U.S. Secretary of State and was the Democratic nominee for president in the November 2016 general election.
“We have these two global international figures who started their professional careers right here,” Albright said.” We’re working on telling a different part of the story and more of the story.”
Jenkins said she is writing narratives for museum tours geared toward children of different ages and making them meaningful and interactive for kids. She said some of her lessons will be based on the concept of leadership and how that applies to the Clintons and other well-known leaders in the state.
The plan, Jenkins said, is to take the lessons to the classroom and follow up with a tour of the Clinton House Museum.
Albright said she already realized she needed a school teacher to help develop the program. Through friends of friends, Albright learned Jenkins had posted on Facebook she was looking for something to do this summer.
A relationship was forged and Jenkins is working about 15 hours a week at the museum and conducting research at home. In addition to the history of the Clinton House, research material also is being used from the University of Arkansas, Arkansas Department of Arkansas Heritage and the Arkansas Humanities Council.
Jenkins said she is developing lessons from a teacher’s perspective and thinking about what a teacher would want in a lesson plan.
“Already, I’ve learned so many things in Arkansas history,” she said. “I definitely will take some of this back to my classroom.”
The museum is at 930 W. Clinton Drive. Operating hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday; closed Wednesday. Admission is free,
The Clinton House Museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is located at 930 W. Clinton Drive in Fayetteville. Bill and Hillary Clinton were married in the house and lived there during their early married life.
Farmington teacher Andrea Jenkins (right) is working at the Clinton House Museum this summer on lesson plans for Arkansas history and civics. Angie Albright (left) is museum director and wanted a school teacher to come up with a new museum curriculum for children.