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June 2, 2014

Community celebrates medal with natural history museum

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NORMAN —

Many museums and a lot of other countries have begun to take notice and are beginning to model their development based on Sam Noble Museum’s development from the facility to the programs, he said, adding they are very well known in the museum world and around the world.

Two of the museum’s programs were found particularly favorable at the national level. The explorology program teaches and engages children in science with scientists.

“Did you know Oklahoma’s one of the worst states in the union on science education? A lot of people are still back in the Middle Ages with their beliefs on science. So we bring accurate information and we take kids and we show them how to do science and they’re astounded by it,” Mares said.

Around 50,000 kids across the state are influenced by the programs and it makes a difference, he said.

The second program viewed favorably was the museum’s Native American language program, which takes language collections and returns them to the tribes as part of their language program.

“We have (language) collections, and those languages are interpreted and brought back to the tribes, and the young people are learning to speak their languages using the materials in these collections,” Mares said.

Last year, nearly 40 tribes were at the language fair; so far, they’ve reached about 7,000 to 8,000 young people. The program helps the younger generation learn their own languages that are no longer taught and helps them communicate with their grandparents or great-grandparents to redevelop tribal pride, he said.

“I really appreciate the support of the people of Oklahoma. They’ve really been great. They love the museum, and we certainly love them. That’s the interaction that comes from serving. We’re here to serve the people and protect their treasure, and that’s what we do,” Mares said.

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