Page images
PDF
EPUB

is perhaps performing a service quite as useful and important as through its printed media of communication. It has quite recently distributed a report on the system of Public Instruction and the Civil Service in China, prepared in that distant country by a resident American educator, Pres. William A. P. Martin, LL. D., of the Imperial College at Peking, and also the annual report of the Minister of Education in Australia for the year 1875, affording the opportunity for a comparison of systems, methods, and results between those countries and our own. But it does not come within the scope of this report to give a detailed account of the work that has been and is being performed by the Bureau, and the Committee beg leave to allude briefly to its needs and embarrassments.

First, it wants a permanent, commodious, and convenient habitation. From the inception of the movement under Commissioner Barnard this Bureau has been subject to frequent changes of location, sometimes consigned to the basement and at others to the lofts of public or private buildings. Recently it has been compelled to remove from the comparatively comfortable quarters near the Interior Department to the rooms already occupied by the Census Bureau and which are totally inadeqate to its pressing needs, in consequence of the failure of the appropriations necessary to pay the rent thereof.

Second, its clerical force is altogether inadequate to perform the great amount of work which has accumulated and is constantly pressing upon its hands.

Third, the appropriations made for the publication of its annual reports are so meagre that the demand for these invaluable documents is far beyond the supply.

In brief, the support of the Bureau is entirely out of proportion to its great importance, to its just desert, and to the demands made upon it by a people to whom education is as essential as the common air and the common sunshine to vegetable and animal life. Another important fact in connection with this matter is that large donations of material have been made to the Bureau by foreign governments represented at the Centennial, as a nucleus for a great pedagogical museum. Other donations have been promised, and there is no doubt that could adequate provision be made therefor, but a few years would elapse before we should begin at least to approximate other nations in the magnificence of these collections for the illustrations of every phase of this mighty problem of universal education. But with no proper repository even for the storage of these treasures we are placed in a most embarrassing, not to say humiliating, position through the enlightened action of our generous neighbors across the sea, who having borrowed from us the grand conception of popular education seem determined to outstrip us in the race for supremacy in its execution.

In view of all the facts that have come to the knowledge of the Committee; in view also of the supreme importance of liberally sustaining and increasing the influence and efficiency of this all-important agency, the Committee submit for the consideration and action of the Association the following series of resolutions as expressive of their conclusions in the premises :

Resolved, that the National Educational Association hereby re-affirms its profound conviction of the great value of the National Bureau of Education as an agency for collecting, collating, and diffusing that information which is a vital necessity to the welfare and progress of schools and school systems under a government of the people for the people and by the people.

Resolved, That we urge upon Congress the imperative necessity of making adequate and liberal pecuniary provision for the support of the Bureau and for the preparation, publication, and distribution of its invaluable reports, circulars of information, and such other documents as are constantly and increasingly demanded by the great army of Educational workers throughout our extended country.

Resolved, That we believe a permanent building of suitable proportions and arrangements for the accommodation of an adequate clerical force, for the preservation of the rapidly-increasing professional library, and for the reception and classification of the generous donations already made, and to be made by foreign countries, as well as by our own people to the pedagogical museum, is a prime necessity, and that speedy provision for the same ought to be made by our national authorities.

Resolved, That the Association also hereby re-affirms its cordial approval of the measures which have been pending before Congress for several years or some proper modification of the same involving the general principles of said measures, providing for the permanent investment of the proceeds of the sales of the public lands annually accruing, as a national fund, the income (rom which shall be apportioned among the several States under the the supervision of the Bureau of Education upon a proper basis of distribution for the benefit of common schools, normal education, and for the more complete endowment and support of the industrial and technical colleges already established or which may be hereafter established in the several States under the act of Congress approved July, 1862.

Resolved, That a committee of five consisting of the President and President-elect of this Association, President Bowman, of Kentucky, Mr. WICKERSHAM, of Pennsylvania, and Prof. Hogg, of Texas, be appointed to wait upon the President of the United States at the earliest practicable date to lay before him the views of the Association upon the subject-matter of this report and request his favorable consideration of the same in his forthcoming message.

Resolved, That a committee of fifteen members of the Association be appointed by the President thereof to act in conjunction with the committees of similar bodies and in co-operation with the department of Superintendence at its winter meeting, with instructions to prepare a memorial to Congress embodying the views herein expressed, and urging such legislation as shall be substantially in harmony therewith. All of which is respectfully submitted.

William F. PHELPs, of Wisconsin,
J. P. WICKEŘSHAM, of Pennsylvania,
John Hancock, of Ohio,
S. H. White, of Illinois,
J. ORMOND Wilson, of Washington, D. C.

Committee.

THE NATIONAL MUSEUM. Mr. J. Ormond Wilson of the same Committee reported the following on the National Museum:

The Educational value of comprehensive and classified collections of articles illustrating the resources and products of different countries, and of the various industries of man, has been impressed upon the world by means of the brilliant series of "World's Fairs" or, as they may be definitely termed, “ Exhibitions of the Industries of all nations " which, beginning with that of Hyde Park, London, in 1851, culminated at Philadelphia in 1876. It is no longer necessary to support the utility of such collections by argument. The term 'Museum,” which once meant in popular estimation little more than a musty collection of useless curiosi. ties, has been infused with new life, and now means the most active Educational influence known to modern civilization.

Object teaching is found to have new significance, and to be of worldwide application. Educationists early saw that this power was as applicable to the rapid dissemination of a knowledge of the methods and appliances of the science of Education, as it was to that of the Arts and manufactures, and the Education Collection begun in England by the Society of Arts, and first exhibited in 1854, has become,-partly by government aid, and largely by individual contributions,-a most important branch of the South-Kensington Museum, embracing, as it does, a collection of over 20,000 volumes of Educational books, and many thousands of models and appliances for Educational purposes; the list of these alone,brought down to the end of 1875,-filling a volume of over 870 closelyprinted pages. Russia, Austria, and Italy, have followed the example of England in establishing general Educational Museums; while most of the other European countries possess each several Museums adapted to various branches of Technical and Industrial Instruction.

On this continent our neighbors of the Dominion of Canada have set the example of organizing such a collection, the value and utility of which were made evident to all by means of the remarkable educational exhibit displayed at Philadelphia by the Province of Ontario.

While no governmental Educational Museum has ever yet been organized by the United States, the advisability of making such a collection has been realized, and its creation urged.

The Exhibition at Philadelphia afforded an unprecedented opportunity for obtaining a quantity of material from the various countries of the world, at the cost of little trouble and comparatively trifling expense. Unfortunately Congress made no appropriation in aid of this, and in consequence the opportunity could not be availed of in any adequate measure, and the Educationists of the country were compelled to see a magnificent opportunity pass away comparatively unimproved. However it was impossible but that much should remain. In the preparations made by the United States Commissioner of Education to secure statistical material bearing on the Educational history of the past century, and in the material designed to represent the various systems and appliances of Education in all its phases as presented in the United States, there was

[ocr errors]

gathered in the Government Building the nucleus of a most interesting collection ; most of which became the property of the Government, and needs but the natural growth and development which would follow its installation in a suitable place to become most valuable to all Educators; while its value will be greatly enhanced by its conjunction with the rare and unique Educational Library already possessed by the United States Bureau of Education, and which is being rapidly increased by means of the systematic exchange of educational publications, conducted by the Commissioner, with Foreign officials.

Although unable to obtain anything by purchase, many gifts were made to the Commissioner by foreign individuals and Governments, so that, in fact, a very large Educational collection, comprising many thousands of separate articles, is now stored in Washington awaiting the action of Congress. This comprises, first, the most of the collections exhibited at Philadelphia by the United States Commissioner; viz: the statistical charts, maps, and diagrams, prepared at the Bureau of Education expressly for the Exhibition, and which give a most clear and comprehensive view of the statistics of Education, both public and private, in the United States. Second, the models, publications, furniture, apparatus, and school appliances, etc., exhibited. Third, the views of colleges, universities, and schools which formed such an attractive feature of the Exhibition. Fourth, the very valuable collection illustrating the progress of Education among the Indians. In addition to these articles, the very complete and interesting Educational Exhibit, made at the suggestion of the United States Commissioner of Education, by the government of Japan, has been presented to the Commissioner as a donation to the contemplated National Educational Museum. This collection is full of interest, first, as showing most clearly the habits, methods, and material of education in Japan before the contact with European civilization, and secondly, the progress made up to 1876 in adopting the methods and appliances of European Education. A complete set of mechanical and chemical apparatus manufactured by their own “School of Arts and Manufactures,” fills one large case, while samples of school furniture now used and of all other school appliances, bring into sharp contrast the old , and the new.

A very fine collection of school material from the Ontario exhibit, valued at about $1,100, and presented to the Educational Museum at Washington, fills a large room. Many valuable gifts from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, add to the interest of the collection and show how readily, by a system of international exchange, such as is carried on by the “Smithsonian Institution,” this Educational Museum at Washington could be developed into an institution where Americans could see for themselves all the new and improved educational appliances of other nations without being compelled, as now, to cross the sea. In a properly-organized museum wherein every department of material relating to education, whether concerning the proper building, lighting, heating, and ventilating of school-rooms, and their furnishing; or the best text-books and apparatus, should be constantly on exhibition, arranged under intelligent supervision ; it is easy to see that the Educators of the country would possess the means of avoiding many mistakes and of readily keeping themselves informed of the best results of the efforts of Educators throughout the world to extend, develope, and improve the all-important science of edu. cation.

In view of the great necessity that is felt for some such central reposi. tory where all the facts relating to the various needs of public education can be readily ascertained; and in view of the fact that so satisfactory & commencement has been already made towards founding a National Educational Museum as is shown by the collections of articles, and of the educational library now in charge of the United States Commissioner of Education at Washington, it is the opinion of this Committee that it is the duty of Congress to make suitable provision for the collection, pres. ervation, and care of a National Educational Museum, which shall meet the needs of the Educators and of the public.

Dr. Rufus C. BURLESON, of Waco, Texas, read the following:

EDUCATIONAL INTERESTS OF TEXAS. MR. PRESIDENT:

I am requested to discuss in your presence the educational interests of Texas.

To me it is a solemn yet pleasing coincidence that just thirty years ago on the soil of Kentucky, and on the banks of this beautiful Ohio, I consecrated my life to Texas. Just thirty years ago having torn my heart away from the scenes of my Alma Mater I passed through this goodly city to plunge into the wilds of that Empire State.

Since that time in the interests of Christian education I have penetrated every corner and crossed every river and every broad prairie from the Medina to the Sabine, and from the Gulf of Mexico to Red River.

The hero of the Æneid could say of the struggles of his beloved Troy Omnia quorum vidi et magna pars fui.Though I cannot say magna pars fui,I can say of the educational interests of Texas omnia quorum vidi."

However, to understand fully the magnitude of the educational interests of Texas, I must remind you briefly of the vastness of her territory, her climate, her fertility, and mighty resources.

Texas, as you are aware, is seven times larger than Kentucky.

Texas is larger than all the New-England States, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, New Jersey, and Delaware, combined.

All these States combined have only an area of 267,356 square miles, while Texas has 274,356,-making it 7,000 square miles larger than all of them. But if this vast territory were filled up with “Saharas" or " Dis. mal Swamps,” or with barren rocks and sterile mountains, its educational interests might not so justly claim the attention of this learned assembly of great American educators.

« PreviousContinue »