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Teenagers get to know history of Miami

The Historical Museum of Southern Florida will offer paid internships to teenagers to learn about past generations and create an exhibit.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/03/25/1544359/teenagers-get-to-know-history.html#ixzz0jBr0s0RC

Special to The Miami Herald
Thomas Sanz wants to grow up to be the next Steven Spielberg.

But before he gets to reach his goal of becoming a film director, the 14-year-old South Miami resident wants to know the history of the area where he was born in hopes of one day directing a documentary on Miami.

“I want to learn about my city,” said Thomas, an eighth-grader at South Miami K-8 Charter School.

To do so, Thomas and other South Florida students will be applying for the Teen Miami Program at the Historical Museum of Southern Florida. It’s a three-year paid internship in which students will help produce a museum exhibit.

“I think it will be cool to show people in other countries about what we are about,” said Thomas, who is awaiting acceptance into the program. “It’s a great idea to show people what it is to live in Miami.”

The museum, at 101 W. Flagler St. in downtown Miami, is looking for 20 creative teenagers interested in social and cultural history. To qualify, students must be entering their freshmen or sophomore year of high school in September 2010.

Members of the museum’s advisory committee will review applicants. Possible teen participants may apply by completing an application at www.hmsf.org/teenmiami . The deadline is April 15.

Throughout the internship, participants will explore teen culture in the nation in general and Miami in particular. They also will be interning in the museum’s exhibitions, education and external relations department. In the end, the youngsters will create an exhibit devoted to teen life in Miami.

Ransom Everglades Upper School English teacher Melissa Ross said the internship is a learning tool for students.

“Through historical analysis they will also learn about their own teen culture and those of generations past in Miami-Dade County,” Ross wrote in an e-mail. “The participants will also blog about their experiences.”

Similar projects have been held at the Chicago History Museum and the Boston Art Museum.

The students chosen will intern at the museum for five weeks for three summers and eight hours a month during the school year, said the museum’s chief curator, Joanne Hyppolite. The project will require teens to intern in different departments, develop exhibition content through an oral history, and create programs that will take place while the exhibition is on display, Hyppolite said.

The program also will educate the community, she said.

“This project and this exhibition will allow us (the teen participants, the visitors, the oral history interviewees, the museum staff) to look at the teen experience across generations provides us with an opportunity to learn about each other and to connect,” Hyppolite wrote in an e-mail. “After all, we were all teens once.”

Thomas’ mother Joyce Sanz said the program will help her son gain responsibility. “Anything that has to do with media or the arts will teach him how to be responsible; it is a job and people depend on what he is doing,” she said. “I want him to feel proud of where he is from.”

Once completed, the Teen Miami exhibit will be on display at the museum from September 2012 through January 2013. Photographs and artifacts of teen life from 1900 to present day will be displayed. Interns will then lead a tour of the exhibition and evaluate the success of the project with staff.

The museum will be hosting a Teen Miami information night at 101 W. Flagler St. from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday.

For information, visit www.hmsf.org/teenmiami.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/03/25/1544359/teenagers-get-to-know-history.html#ixzz0jBqxIEFU

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