8th Grade Museums

The Westridge 8th grade class recently designed four different museums based on different events in history. Each block focused on one museum. They presented in different ways based on the class’s choice of presentation. Here is what went on inside each one.


McCarthy Museum:  Reign of Terror

Have you ever wondered about the lingering effects of McCarthyism or the psychology behind Senator Joe McCarthy’s “witch hunts”? Do you even know what McCarthyism is? It centers around the time when Senator Joe McCarthy and his followers hunted down people he suspected to be communists… even if they weren’t! On Thursday, January 25, 2018, the haunting effects of McCarthyism were revived as the Westridge Class of 2022 hosted its annual 8th grade museum. If you were there, you would have seen life-like scenes that portrayed McCarthy’s interrogations and investigations of suspected communists. With hands-on, interactive, and terrifying scenes… it was a wonder if you weren’t blacklisted. But hey, if you were brave enough to stick through for the entire exhibit, you got to watch a black-and-white film about life after McCarthyism that included a special tribute to the Hollywood 10. Well folks, that’s all we’ve got to say for now, but if you missed McCarthy’s Reign of Terror, we hope you join us next year for another round of… “fun”.


Salem Witch Trials: The Hanging Tree

On January 25th, 8th Grade A Block History Class presented the play The Hanging Tree! On Thursday, January 25th from 5 to 7 pm we brought history to life. A block developed a small play to inform viewers of the horrors of the Salem Witch Trials. The play revolved around Rebecca Nurse, a respected elder in Salem who was accused of witchcraft. Viewers watched her journey through The Salem Witch Trials as she fought for her innocence and saw How Fear manifests into Tragedy.


Under the Surface: Japanese Internment Museum

On January 25th, 2018, the 8th grade D Block History class presented Under the Surface: The Japanese Internment Museum. Visitors experience the hardships the Japanese Americans who lived in Southern California went through during the Second World War. The museum guided visitors through the path the internees followed of being taken from their homes, relocated to an internment camp and released, in some cases, they had little to nothing to return to. The experience had hands on interactive exhibits such as packing your suitcase, making a pillow out of straw and building your house in the internment camp, and as one critic said, “The best museum for an experience.” Visitors learned about the stories of individuals that were interned during WWII and how their life was after the war. The museum was moving and interactive, making it more personal for the visitors. This event took place at MUDD 1, and we were thrilled to see the amount of people that showed up and participated!


9/11: The Twin Towers Weren’t the Only Things that Fell that Day

On the evening of January 25th, 2018, the 8th grade History F Block show-cased The Twin Towers Weren’t the Only Things that Fell that Day – a 9/11 Museum.  This museum gave not only an in-depth look at the timeline of 9/11 – beginning with pre-9/11 and ending with terrorism today – but it also highlighted four individuals’ stories.  When the visitors entered the museum, they were given a passport with an individual’s name on it.  As they followed the timeline, they got to see their individual’s story unfold in each time period.  This gave visitors the opportunity to relive another’s experience and see the events of 9/11 from a different perspective.  At the end of the museum, visitors had the chance to write down their own 9/11 experience and display it, so that all the visitors could share their own personal story as well as learn about each other’s stories.  From beginning to end, this museum used a variety of mediums such as videos, artifacts, a TV reporter, artwork, written stories and facts, and speakers to convey the information and message of the museum.  With the perfect balance of factual and emotional exhibits, this personal and organized museum was viewed as the most museum-like experience.  History F Block was delighted that so many people took the time to reflect upon 9/11, experience the exhibits, and share and learn stories of others’ 9/11 experiences!

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