1. Description of Our Community
There’s something about Smyrna. Nearly everyone who comes to Smyrna, DE, the first time tells of being pleasantly surprised by the warm and charming character of the historic downtown, of the friendly citizens and shopkeepers and the gracious residents who open their historic homes each year for the Candlelight Walking Tour. Indeed, Smyrna is a welcoming place. Smyrna is a family town concerned with quality living and historic preservation. With approximately 6000 residents, which includes about 2000 families, Smyrna is a close knit community. The old saying, “If you sneeze on this side of town, someone on the other side will say Bless you!” Is very true. People are drawn to the town by the historic charm of the red bricks, brackets, and lace of Colonials. The village begun on the banks of Duck Creek around 1776 as a small farming and shipping community named Salisbury but popularly known as Duck Creek was renamed Smyrna in 1806, about 70 years later becoming a noted center for grain, peaches and lumber.
2. Summary of Our Project
Some of America’s great painting treasures are not found on art museum walls. Instead, they can be found in more mundane spaces such as post offices and public school buildings. The subjects of the paintings, the color and the compositions allude to another time. Why are these beautiful works of art there? Who painted them? How were they painted and what is their significance?
Nestled in central Delaware is the town of Smyrna. Historically a center of agriculture and the shipping industry the town today boasts business, industry and residential suburban communities as Delaware’s population migrates south. Within the central business area many beautiful historical buildings allude to Smyrna’s rich historical past. One of the most notable buildings is John Bassett Moore Middle School. Originally built in 1922 and restored in 1938 and 1978, the building houses a collection of six murals that have recently been rediscovered as part of the school’s most recent restoration.
In 2000 the Smyrna School District began a massive reconfiguration of schools. Part of the reconfiguration was a complete restoration of John Bassett Moore to its original glory. For generations Smyrna students passed through the building and were familiar with the paintings. However, district officials (some of whom are alumni of the school) believed them to have some historical significance and plans were made to assess the value of the paintings and have them removed during the restoration of the building.
3. Our Computer and Internet Access
A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%
B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:1
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
Most of the technology work was completed at home. There was not enough time during school time. After school, we gathered information from people and at the school. We have high speed Internet at home.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
Technology is growing so fast. The days of buying a program, and knowing how to use it, are virtually gone. Dreamweaver and Adobe Photoshop Elements were no exception. Although the programs are user friendly, getting them to do what you want is another thing. Our biggest problem was getting images, audio, and video to be compatible with Dreamweaver. It was all a learning experience, well worth the time.
The project was a data collection effort. Gathering information about the origin and restoration of the local murals was fun. We encountered problems collected images of the restoration process. Unfortunately, we were not able to obtain pictures of the actual restoration of the local Smyrna murals.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
Most of the technology obstacles were overcome with a lot of long hours. Being the stubborn individuals that we are, we had to read manuals until we figure out the problem. Our community is a very friendly environment. It was a pleasure to talk with the community to learn the information needed to complete the project.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Delaware’s visual arts content standards were addressed in completing this project.
Students will select and use form, media, techniques, and processes to create works of art to communicate meaning. Students will understand the visual arts in relation to diverse cultures, times, and a places. Students will reflect upon, describe, analyze, interpret, and evaluate works of art and design. This project was very interesting. The members of the team and the teacher attended John Bassett Moore school. The murals were magnificient to look at, when we enrolled in that school. It feels good to give back to the community. We feel it has been an honor to celebrate the murals and display them to everyone.