DOWNERS GROVE – Fairmount Elementary School’s fifth-grader Diana Kwak won second place this month in a national competition to design a museum exhibit, after finishing first in the state earlier in 2014.
To learn how to conceptualize and design an exhibit plan, Diana and the other members of her local Children of the American Revolution society went to the Downers Grove Historical museum, where staff walked them through its exhibit on Sears kit homes.
After the museum tour, Diana, 11, and her fellow society members Kellar and Cooper Lambeau brainstormed their own idea and chose “toys through the ages.”
The group conceptualized their unique exhibit idea, wrote a budget and planned item procurement. Diana drew an exhibit layout on grid paper and wrote the description of what the different displays would entail.
In designing the exhibit concept, Diana said she thought about categories of toys that remained since the beginning of America.
“They have always had some type of doll, and some type of building toy for boys,” she said. “Even in colonial times they had little games, I know they played games with hoops and a spinning top. And then in the modern age, they’ve changed to Monopoly and board games.”
She said the exhibit would also have monitors with video games to round out the timeline.
The local Pierce Downers Society of the Children of the American Revolution has a few dozen members, Diana’s mom, Laura Kwak said. As a member and president of her local society, Diana has learned how to conduct meetings and participate in state and national contests such as the museum exhibit.
“The state level holds a chairmanship, so at conference she comes up and gives a report to the floor,” Laura said. “It teaches the kids public speaking, and they can run for offices. If they choose to pursue this and try to hold a national office they get sworn in at Mount Vernon in Washington, D.C.
To join, children must have an ancestor who participated in the American Revolution.
The Kwak family made that discovery for the first time several years ago, when Laura Kwak’s sister researched family genealogy after the death of her grandmother.
Her ancestor, Pain Converse Sr. is Diana’s oldest verified patriot and has the last name of her great-great-grandmother. He lived in Connecticut during the Revolutionary War and is 12 generations back from Diana. Once children age out of the organization at 22, they can join the Sons or Daughters of the American Revolution.