• Sit for a spell under a cottonwood tree and view the Franklin Mountains, seemingly nestled between the U.S. and Mexico flags in front of the visitor center. The two flags reflect our heritage; this land once belonging to Mexico and now to the U.S.

    Chamizal

    National Memorial Texas

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Park Puppet Program Entertains and Educates

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Date: April 29, 2009
Contact: Michael Groomer, 915-532-7273 x124

Park's Puppet Program Entertains and Educates Elementary Students for NPS Week

Over 90 second grade students from Hillside Elementary explored the history surrounding Chamizal National Memorial and the park service mission by participating in a puppet show on April 24th. Park staff intentionally used marionettes as a story-telling medium, a practice that pays homage to the Mexican marionette theater traditions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Using a small but elaborate puppet stage in the memorial's theater, park rangers voice and maneuver artisan-crafted marionettes. They perform "Ask the River", an original allegorical fable that represents the actual story of friendship and diplomatic resolution that Chamizal NM commemorates. According to one park ranger, the success of the performance is owed to the captivating quality of puppets.

"A park ranger can tell kids a history story that will lose their attention pretty quickly," says Michael Groomer, Chief of Interpretation, Educations, and Arts. "But a marionette of a park ranger, such as Ranger Mike, can say the exact same thing and they will understand and actively interact with the puppet. With puppets we can tell the complex story of the Chamizal dispute in a way that children understand and actually enjoy."

As part of National Parks Week, all ninety-five students in the El Paso Independent School District were sworn in as junior rangers in the visitor center after having participated in the puppet show.

Call (915) 532-7273 for more information or visit our website www.nps.gov/cham.

Did You Know?

Ambassadors Mann (U.S.) and Tello (Mexico)

The two official signatures on the Chamizal Convention of 1963 are not those of the President of the United States and Mexico, but of Ambassador Thomas Mann of the United States and Ambassador Manual Tello of Mexico. More...