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These STRETCH pupils at Washington Middle School show off the period clothing they donned for their 'Building of America' Newseum project. (click for larger version)

Pupils create 'Building of America' Newseum

Visitors to the Washington Middle School "Building of America" Newseum recently were able to take a trip back in time without leaving the library.

The interactive display was created by the school's STRETCH students, under the guidance of teacher Nancy Schejbal.

The pupils began the "Building of America" Newseum project in September. After dividing into teams, each team researched a period in American history between 1700 and 2003 and found information about news events, sports, entertainment and trivia.

Among the more interesting tidbits discovered by the pupils: a new automobile cost $2,238 in the 1950s, a popular toy in the 1700s was a hoop and stick, and the movie "Flashdance" started a craze for cutoff sweatshirts in the 1980s.

In the second part of the project, pupils created a newscast for their time period.

After choosing newsworthy events from their decades, they wrote scripts, designed commercials and anchored their newscasts. The newscasts, complete with "live-read" commercials, were videotaped and later played at the Newseum exhibit.

The final stage of the Newseum project was the construction of the display boards.

These colorful displays featured pictures, headlines and memorabilia from the different time periods featured. To add to the festive atmosphere, students dressed in period clothing donated by Mehlville resident Barb Killius.

Visitors to the "Building of America" Newseum exhibit also were invited to take a scavenger-hunt-type challenge. A list of questions about the different time periods featured was given to each visitor. The answers to those questions were contained within the exhibits.

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