During my time at the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum, I’ve gotten to try my hand at an assortment of things. This includes writing blog posts, designing a newsletter, being a Ghost Walk guide, and so much more. As interns, we’ve also each designed our own education program for the museum to implement. My program is for middle school and high school students, and it focuses on people who have helped create change right here in Virginia Beach.
We often forget who came before us, who helped create the society in which we live. But, people we call “change makers” play a vital role in any community. The men who served in our building helped shape Virginia Beach by establishing a safer path for cargo, more security for travelers, and as part of the larger Coast Guard presence on the East Coast. In my program, I highlight some of our surfmen, along with other local change makers, including lifeguards, surfers, and activists who helped save our building.
While the surf and rescue history of Virginia Beach is dominated by men, I am also proud to highlight women who helped change the oceanfront. They not only supported their spouses and fathers, but made their own contributions to the Virginia Beach we live in today. I hope featuring them in the program inspires middle school and high school women to find their own voices and create change.
The program includes activities where students will use primary sources like newspapers to learn more about these change makers. Primary sources are great resources, because they are first hand accounts of the times and allow us to explore the societal norms. The activities are meant to help the students think critically about change, while also providing inspirational historical role models. I also want the students to think about local change makers they have encountered throughout their lives, because history isn’t just the past, it’s being made right in front of our eyes today!