The museum spoof requires students to draw upon previous knowledge to essentially produce a fictional historical artifact. In this activity, the teacher gives out small items to individual groups of students. Each group is required to both find and create texts that, together, help justify why that particular item should be in a museum. The goal here is not for a perfectly accurate account, as none of the items handed out will ever be museum worthy. However, students can draw on what is plausible (That spoon has a shell on it. Maybe it was owned by the Royal Dutch Shell Company) to set themselves down a path of historic research and writing.
This activity even got us old and wrinkled 20 somethings excited when we were asked to do it. As the “true identity” or the item before us were for up to us to decide, it gave us limitless options to flex our creativity muscles. That process made the writing of the fictional documents (but based on real events) all the more exciting.
For students, it may be necessary to root them within a particular unit, but it is bound to be a cause for enthusiasm.