BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore Museum of Industry is donating 2,000 interactive city kits to Baltimore Public Schools so that students can learn about the cannery industry.

The kits were inspired by the BMI’s Kids’ Cannery program, which is an immersive experience for grades 3-8 normally experience during a field trip to the museum.

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More than 30,000 students visit the museum each year, but due to the coronavirus, its doors remain closed.

“We wanted to find ways to keep reaching out to students, especially Baltimore City students who have been really struggling with the digital divide ever since schools have been closed,” said Jessica Celmer with the museum.

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During the field trips, students normally assume the roles of managers, foremen, can-makers, printers, labelers, steamers, shuckers, and can-fillers in an 1883 oyster cannery. They learned about the training and wages of skilled and unskilled workers. The students are “paid” with tokens.

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“We know that students love the hands-on learning that takes place in our Kids Cannery experience at the museum, and we wanted to replicate that for children who are not able to visit during this pandemic,” said Beth Maloney, Director of Interpretation at the BMI, who headed up the team of museum educators who designed the kits. “This will provide an analog experience to help fill in learning during the digital divide.”

Thanks to funding from the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, students can bring the “city kits” home with them. Each kit contains four lessons, teaching kids how to interpret historic maps and photographs as well as math and hands-on skills.

“We took those themes about work and factories and industry in Baltimore and we took that into our kit with the different kinds of primary source material,” Celmer said.

The kits will be distributed at city food sites in the first week of June.

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