SPHS students ‘Making Do’ by exploring hard times of the 1930s

November 29, 2002
Santa Paula High School
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula Times“Making Do: Hard Times in the 1930s” is the latest California Oil Museum exhibit by Santa Paula High School students, who took a hard look at the hard times and the good times of one of America’s saddest but most exciting decades.“Making Do: Hard Times in the 1930s” debuts Sunday, Dec. 1 at the museum with an opening reception in the Keck Gallery from 1 to 3 p.m., hosted by Hozy’s Santa Paula Grill, which will provide refreshments during the event. The exhibit will continue through January 19.“Making Do: Hard Times in the 1930s” was prepared by students of Edward Arguelles’s Agricultural Science and Human Services Academies along with Margaret Booker’s 10th grade World History class. This is the fourth consecutive year that Santa Paula High School students have prepared an exhibit for the California Oil Museum.The exhibit required the students to research the painful years of the 1930s in Santa Paula and throughout the nation. During their research, the students discovered stories and photos of human hardship and the simple pleasures of everyday life in that decade, known primarily for the Great Depression and the emergence of FDR as president and author of the New Deal.It was during the Great Depression that many families who fled the Dust Bowl migrated to California, with many finding a new home in agriculturally rich Santa Paula.SPHS students also researched the lives of their 1930s contemporaries, and the exhibit shows teen life in Santa Paula.The pain of racism and ignorance of the 1930s is also explored by the student researchers and curators.“The fact that the students looked at probably one of the greatest crisis in American history, the Great Depression, something so removed from them, the only way they could know about it is through their research,” said COM Executive Director Mike Nelson.
Students gathered personal histories about the era, “a wonderful way to learn about the 30s and the Great Depression versus reading about it in a textbook,” Nelson noted. “I’m looking forward to it, the kids learned a lot and so do we,” through such exhibits. “The Timmons Foundation is really happy with the results of these exhibits,” reflected in its continued and increased funding for the SPHS projects.The Timmons Foundation grant was secured by the museum in its efforts to bring local students into the museum. Museum curator, John Nichols of Sespe Group - Creative Services, teaches the students contemporary museum exhibit standards and techniques and how to plan an exhibit that engages museum visitors.The distinctive Queen Anne building, home to the California Oil Museum, is located at 1001 East Main St., at the corner of 10th and Main streets.Admission is $2 Adults, $1 Children, free to museum members.For more information, call COM at 933-0076, or visit the Web site at www.oilmuseum.net

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