Live Exhibit in the Omaha Section Interests Many Visitors
The live exhibit of the manual training department of the Omaha High school, which occupies the west gallery of the Manufactures building, is a feature of no little interest to the out-of-town people who visit the exposition. The exhibit is instructive even to Omaha parents, who are presumed to be passably familiar with local educational methods, and it is an entirely new thing to the bulk of the outsiders who visit the building. They watch the deft work of the school boys with unconcealed admiration and judging from the remarks dropped by many of the visitors, it is not unlikely that this exhibit will be productive of quite a vigorous agitation in favor of manual training in the schools of quite a number of the smaller towns in Nebraska and Iowa.
The exhibit is under the personal direction of Superintendent Wigman of the manual training department of the Omaha schools and the facilities include four turning lathes, two work benches and a band saw. About a dozen boys, members of the first year class, are employed continually in turning out samples of work just as they do in their regular school work. Each boy takes a piece of work and carries it through and it is quite interesting to see how rapidly and accurately they work out the design. At the benches the pieces of wood are dressed, jointed together and glued solidly. Then the piece is put in a lathe and fancy cups, darning balls, cigar holders and a score of other useful articles are turned out and polished until they are really handsome pieces of cabinet work. Everything must be done perfectly and it is surprising what perfect joining is done by these boys, who have only been in the department a year, and are just beginning what is called finish work.
A number of cases at one side of the exhibit illustrate more broadly the scope of the department. One case shows the work of the first year and another that of the second while a large one in the center contains fully 100 samples of completed work , much of which displays a remarkable degree of skill. The interest that is taken in this work by the pupils is indicated by the fact that the boys who constitute the "live" feature of the exhibit are voluntarily spending their vacation doing exactly the same work that they would be occupied with if school was in session.
"Manual Training School Work.", Omaha Daily Bee, August 31, 1898, pg. 1.
"The manual training department displays a well-filled case of finished work, much of which at first glance might be taken for inlaid work, but which the instructor, Mr. Wigman, says is jointed cabinet work, as the wood used in inlaid work never exceeds one-thirty-second of an inch in thickness. Dumbbells, Indian clubs, vases of all shapes and sizes, fruit stands, napkin rings and paper knives in many colored woods, beautifully polished, are noticed in the case. Upon a raised platform are foot rests, shoe blacking cases and tables. One of the tables has in the center a chess board, with backgammon and cribbage boards at the sides and ends. This department has in prospect a "line exhibit" which will show the successive steps leading up to the finished work."
Perrine, Ella B. "Exposition and Education", Omaha Daily Bee, July 7, 1898, pg. 5.
TMI number 00688
Photograph by F. A. Rinehart, 1898
© Omaha Public Library, 1998
Photograph size 8.6 inches by 6.6 inches
Larger Size Detail