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The Butterfly Project and Parallel Journeys open Jan. 18, 2007. See the press release.

KSU Spreads Its Wings
By Angie Jennings
(excerpted from The Sentinel)

     
 

 
     

While attending the Max Kaplan Summer Institute for Educators at the Holocaust Museum Houston in 2005, Charlotte Collins and Natasha Lovelace, assistant professors of art, learned about The Butterfly Project.

The program, instituted by the museum's education department in 2001, uses the book, "I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children's Drawings and Poems from Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-1944," to connect modern-day students with the plight of the youngest victims of the Holocaust. The book includes poems and pictures created by some of the 15,000 children imprisoned in Terezin during those two years. Less than 100 of the children survived.

This year's exhibit of The Butterfly Project includes three-dimensional butterflies constructed by students, faculty and staff. It opens its doors on Jan. 18 as an exhibit at the KSU Center.

"The project is now in its third semester here at KSU and has received a tremendous amount of support from KSU faculty and staff across disciplines," Lovelace said.

"Our largest butterfly contributors were from the First-Year Seminar, KSU 1101, who were inspired by touring KSU's 'Anne Frank in the World' exhibit or reading 'My Reconstructed Life' by Eugen Schoenfeld," Collins said. "The Arts and Society, ART 1107, and studio art courses also contributed to the project."

A number of butterflies included text on the wings and were inspired by the poems of Anne Frank or by "The Butterfly," written by Pavel Friedman in 1942. Friedman was killed in the Auschwitz Death Camp two years after he wrote the poem.

Collins added that contributions were also received from local elementary and middle schools, Girl Scout troops and others in the community.

"The importance of a program like this is to reinforce such principles as tolerance, compassion, integrity, hope and heroism," Lovelace said. "These butterflies truly display the diversity of life."

After its temporary display at KSU, The Butterfly Project will be transported to the Holocaust Museum Houston and added to the more than 200,000 butterflies already collected in the museum's public display. The museum's goal is to collect 1.5 million butterflies in memory of all the children who lost their lives during the Holocaust.

"One-point-five million is certainly a lofty goal, but we continue to be pleased and overwhelmed by the number and variety of butterflies we receive," said the museum's director of education Richard Grisham.

The museum has received a diverse array of butterflies made of paper, wood, feathers, metal and concrete.

The HMH education department also designed a curriculum around the project that includes classroom activities encouraging students to think about the children in Terezin, what they must have witnessed and the messages they were trying to convey with their writings and drawings. Students then make butterflies based on an assigned poem from the book to hang in the classroom. In a poignant demonstration, most of the butterflies are cut down, visually depicting the fraction of the children who survived Terezin.

"The butterflies were hung in front of the class with such beauty, such hope, only to be cut down for no reason," said Christina Vasquez, director of education at the Holocaust Museum.

HMH's curriculum can be accessed at the museum's web site and through the Curriculum Trunk Program, which provides instructors with curricula, books, videos, CD-ROM's, artifact kits and posters to enhance students' learning experience. These trunks are stocked and shipped to classrooms free of charge.

As the fourth largest Holocaust Museum in the country, the Holocaust Museum Houston uses the tragedy to educate the public about the dangers of prejudice, hatred and violence while fostering remembrance, understanding and education. The museum, located in Houston's Museum District, is free and open to the public.

 

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