Students are Docents in the Ancient Coin Museum

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Pittsburgh elementary school teacher Zee Ann Poerio promotes classics in her classroom through the hands on study of ancient coins.

Last year, Zee Ann Poerio organized an Ancient Coin Museum to promote coins and classics. At this museum, K-12 students can touch and hold genuine coins more than 2,000 years old from Greece, Rome and other ancient cultures. More than that, they act as docents and share their new found knowledge with friends. This unique museum now serves as a model for 5 other similar museums in schools across the country. It was honored at the American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money in Pittsburgh last year. The concept was presented at the American Classical League Summer Institute at Miami University of Ohio and was featured at a teacher workshop for the Augusta County Institute of Classical Studies in Virginia. It has been displayed at local numismatic events for children and adults.

The Museum will reopen at the St. Louise de Marillac Parish Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on April 22, 23 & 24, during National Coin Week. The school is located at 310 McMurray Road and will be open to the general public from 1:00 to 3:00 PM on Friday, 6:30 to 8:30 PM on Saturday and 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Sunday. The theme is "The World of Money" and will focus on coins and classics as part of a "Year of Languages" initiative by the American Classical League and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. The Ancient Coin Museum is used as a teaching tool to discuss the origins of money while incorporating languages through the inscriptions of ancient coins, as well as ancient history, art, myth, and its influence on modern coinage from around the world. An ancient pottery reproduction contest for high school students and a poster contest for younger students will be held in conjunction with this year's event. Local school students will also be invited to participate by reading myths in different languages including Latin and Greek.

Cathy Scaife, an active Classicist and Latin teacher from Lexington KY will be a special guest at the event. Scaife is also an Assistant Seminar Teacher with the American Numismatic Association "Coins in the Classroom" program. In addition, she serves with Poerio as a member on the Ancient Coins for Education Board of Directors. Both of these programs encourage the use of genuine ancient coins as teaching aids in classroom environments. Scaife will speak at a Saturday morning teacher workshop on the evolution of money from barter to coins and the methods of minting ancient coins. She will also discuss an Archaeology Simulation project and present other coin-related activities.

Materials and support for the Ancient Coin Museum come from Ancient Coins for Education (ACE), US Mint, American Numismatic Association, Excellence Through Classics committee of the American Classical League, Harlan J. Berk, Ltd., Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG) and private individuals. Poerio is a Director of ACE and a member of the ACCG Education and Youth Programs Task Force.

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Wayne G. Sayles
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