Young Okinawan Taiko performer, Waikiki, Hawaii, detail from poster. Photo by
David M. Simabukuro,1998.
Explore Your Community: A Community Heritage Poster for the Classroom
Mapping Your World
Explore Your Community Poster Panel Four
Popular culture (TV, the movies, shopping malls, and fast food
restaurants) sometimes makes it seem that one place in America
is just like every other place. But all communities—whether urban,
suburban, or rural—have their own cultural heritage. Who you are
is often closely linked to where you live. Individuals may assume
regional identities such as Southerner, Westerner, Hoosier (a person
from Indiana), or Piney (a resident of New Jersey's Pine Barrens).
Distinctive ways of speaking, dressing, dancing, making chili,
or decorating a car can also become ways for expressing regional
or local identity.
What You Can Do
Create a Tour:
Create an auto tour map, audiotape, "virtual" Web site tour, or
walking plan of significant or curious places in your city or county
that outsiders would be interested to know about. Historic buildings,
local cemeteries, places with local legends, and places that have
significance within your community play an important role in your
world. Plot sites on your map with descriptive material about each
place. Research their history or geology and interview people who
may know something about their origin or know stories about them.
Can you find old photos of these places? Do any places on your
tour have names that don't exist on printed maps? Interview local
people to find out more about place-names and local history.
Study Old Buildings or a Business District:
Study and document a historically significant building in your
community. Measure it, do rough sketches of its dimensions, photograph
it. Is the architecture characteristic of your community or region?
Is the building made from a particular kind of stone, clay, or
other material native to your area? How has it been used over time?
What role did it play in the economic or social life of the community?
What was happening in history when it was built? Can you find information
about the builders, masons, or inhabitants of the building? Do
library research in old newspapers and local histories about it;
interview older members of the community about it.