Bothwell students present annual civilizations museum

At left, Bothwell Middle School seventh-grader Isaac Johnson shows his Great Pyramid display, which he made with partner Liam McFarren, during Wednesday’s Eastern Hemisphere Civilizations Museum at the school. The annual event shows off student projects about various ancient civilizations. Below, is an exhibit of the Great Wall of China and a pottery piece, inset, shown during the event. (Journal photos by Christie Bleck)

MARQUETTE — Marquette residents didn’t have far to travel Wednesday if they wanted to see the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Great Wall of China or mummies.

Seventh-graders from Bothwell Middle School presented their annual Eastern Hemisphere Civilizations Museum that day in the school cafeteria, having created replica artifacts while researching them and their related ancient civilizations.

Community members walked through the area, viewing projects about the history of the ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Indus River Valley people and the early Chinese dynasties.

The Great Pyramids were created for the Bothwell event in basically the same shape, but were made out of different materials.

Isaac Johnson’s pyramid exhibit, which he made with the help of fellow seventh-grader Liam McFarren, was made from Rice Krispies Treats, or at least something very similar. However, he still researched his topic a great deal.

“The pyramid is 455 feet tall, 756 feet wide, and it took over 20 years to build,” Johnson said — speaking of the original pyramid, of course.

That pyramid, which is about 4,500 years old, is Egyptian in origin.

“They built the pyramid by putting ramps up the side of the pyramid and hauling the stones up the ramps,” Johnson said.

According to his exhibit, over 170,000 tons of stone were carried over 500 miles to make the pyramid.

The structure still carries a bit of mystery.

“It’s amazing, and we still don’t know how they hauled the stone 500 miles,” Johnson said.

What will he do with the project following the museum? After all, it’s made from dessert treats.

“My partner’s not here, so I get to eat it all,” Johnson said.

The tasty pyramid, though, might not be completely to his liking.

“It’s probably stale,” Johnson said.

Seventh-grade history teacher Scot Stewart, who helped spearhead the museum, said the event showed a great variety of artifacts, from chariots and farming tools to dioramas of the insides of homes.

For example, one project focused on ancient Mesopotamian homes, which were made from sun-dried brick and usually were three stories high, with a flat roof acting as an extra story.

“It’s really incredible, and the part that’s always the best is just the fact that we have kids that really thrive on doing hands-on projects, and they’re given the opportunity here to be interpreters for their class and the rest of the seventh-graders in explaining the importance, the origins, of the artifacts,” Stewart said.

Some students, he pointed out, hadn’t had the chance to show off that interpretive side.

The annual museum changes that scenario.

“They get up in front of the class and they truly are experts,” Stewart said.

Most of the artifact work is completed at home while research is performed during class, said Stewart, who noted the students worked about a week on researching ideas for artifacts — the who, what, when, where and why behind the items.

Another Bothwell seventh-grade history teacher, Joe Levandoski, was involved in the museum as well.

“The quality is top notch, and really, top to bottom, the kids worked really, really hard,” Levandoski said. “They put in a lot of time, and lots of hours, and some of them like to tell you how many hours they put in.”

One projected featured lumasi — the plural of lamassu — which were protective guards in Mesopotamia, the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Lumasi, whose faces always were smiling, were scribed into clay panels and buried underneath home entrances.

Another project depicted the Shang Dynasty Temple that was used for praying and worshipping emperors, while artifacts in another section of the area represented canopic jars, which were used in mummification.

Those are the types of things the public could have learned about as visitors to the museum, even if the displays were just temporary.

“It’s a great reward for them to get a night like this where they can show off their work,” Levandoski said.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is