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History comes to life in Farnhamville

Prairie Valley Middle School conducts living wax museum

May 4, 2009
Messenger News


Messenger staff writer

FARNHAMVILLE -President Barack Obama made an appearance at Prairie Valley Middle School Friday afternoon.

Article Photos

Prairie Valley sixth grader Skylar Warehime tells the story of rock and roll musician Buddy Holly during the sixth grade’s living wax museum at Prairie Valley Middle School Friday afternoon. Warehime chose to portray Holly because they share an interest in music.

Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Oprah Winfrey, Buddy Holly, Jane Goodall, Tiger Woods and Roy Rogers were also among the notable guests who also made an appearance at the school.

While it may not have been the real Barack Obama, the current president of the United States and other past and present American icons were brought to life by the sixth-grade class during the students' presentation of the Living History Wax Museum.

Before presenting the wax museum, each student researched someone they were interested in who contributed to society and wrote a paper about their selected person's life and why they are still remembered today as an English project, sixth-grade teacher Staci Halligan said.

As a final portion of the project, each dressed in costume as their chosen celebrity and stood ready to share a few facts with their teachers, friends, parents and classmates at the push of a "button" on their hands.

Skylar Warehime portrayed Buddy Holly, complete with a guitar and black, horn-rimmed eyeglasses.

Knowing that he had died in a plane crash in Iowa, Warehime said he learned a few things about Holly that he did not already know.

"He got married on his first date," Warehime said. " And I didn't know his real name was Charles."

Wearing the trademark khaki shorts and shirt with a rubber snake around his neck, Nathan Mullins was in character as Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin.

"I chose him because we have some things in common," said Mullins. "We both like animals and hunting and camping. He was a very brave man, and I think I'm brave, too."

Dressed in jungle gear and completing her display with a pair of binoculars and a stuffed monkey, Stephanie Lock portrayed chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall.

"She really liked monkeys," said Lock. "She was very young when she started working with chimps and I didn't know she was still living."

When Bryce Gustafson was given the assignment, he knew right away that he wanted to choose Roy Rogers.

"I learned a lot about his family," he said. "I didn't know that he had won so many awards or when he died."

After her older sister played Sacajawea in a previous living wax museum, McKenzie Larson decided to follow in her sister's footsteps by portraying her as well.

"I always thought she was cool because she's on the dollar coins," Larson said of Sacajawea.

Trent Leners' chosen person was Theodore Roosevelt. Leners also learned a few things that he didn't know before going into character as Roosevelt.

"He settled a peace treaty between Japan and Russia," he said.

In all, 52 people who have played important roles in society were portrayed by the students.

"This has been a good way for the students to share with their families and friends," Halligan said. "It's a great way to involve the community and a chance for students to show what they have learned."

Contact Emilie Nelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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