The Educational Impact of the Time Tapestry
Curating the extensive collection of archival and historical images that we used to "weave" the Time Tapestry was done over a two-year time span. Educator/artist Mimi Van Swall (she is also one of our company founders) conducted the library and copyright research, striving to retain full academic integrity for the thousand-year span. Her efforts eventually resulted in this new method of visually comprehending our cultural heritage.
So why have we heard such enthusiastic reactions
from students of all ages and faculty alike?
The reason is that the various icons of culture featured in the composite image can be viewed in true historical context without the use of the written word, in the universal language of art. For example, in the 17th century section of the Time Tapestry, the viewer comes upon the unlikely scene of an American wild turkey standing on the steps of the Taj Mahal, while playwright William Shakespeare peers out over the heads of people in the courtroom of the Salem witch trials.
What a wonderful way of learning
about eventsoccurring simultaneously around the world!
This visual comprehension is much more memorable than traditional timelines. And it is as much fun as a game of hide-and-seek.
Artistic images, even cave paintings of prehistoric times, tell stories. And if the images are mostly "from their own era" not the creation of a contemporary illustrator the most authentic story experience can be had. All the educational disciplines and cultural trends are represented in the Time Tapestry: music, art, period fashion, architecture, science, etc.
One leading educator, Dr. Katherine Kennedy, a Washington, D.C.-based consultant, is a specialist in cross-cultural communication and conflict management. She has worked with politicians from all sides in the Northern Ireland peace process. Dr. Kennedy has said that "in order to thrive in the future, all people must have the ability to resolve their differences without violence, and to learn the skills of conflict management. History is people defining the glories of their society and culture and also choosing their respective traumas. Each era builds upon previous glories, prior traumas."
Upon first seeing the Time Tapestry, Dr. Kennedy said, "I was stunned by the layers of visual imagery and the global story-telling in this piece. After all, the key to resolving and preventing conflict is knowing each other's stories."
What About Developing a Cross-Cultural Curriculum?
Responses from organizations such as the National Association of Independent Schools have been overwhelmingly positive. And we are hoping that the Time Tapestry concept becomes an actual curriculum. Qualified participants are hereby invited to submit suggestions and outlines for curriculum themes. Communications on this subject can be directed to Ms. Van Swall, c/o Time Tapestries, P.O. Box 476, Wilton, CT 06897 USA, or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teachers already using the Time Tapestry in their classrooms are thrilled to have a new tool to capture the attention and the imagination of their students. Challenging them visually, and letting them make up their own stories about human endeavor, is exactly in keeping with the true creative spirit of our project.