Part of what I believe defines our humanity is the need to celebrate and remember people and events. Pompeii was buried centuries ago, and yet we treasure every detail we learn from studying it. Ancient Greece is evident in desolate ruins that are crumbling under the Meditteranian sun, and yet... every school child can talk about Pythagorus or Socrates. Every town has some symbol to stand for the Proud Americans who gave their lives to protect ours. The Statue of Liberty guards New York Harbor and serves as an icon of freedom to the thousands who passed through Ellis Island. We have a need to touch history and walk in the steps of those who came before us. Monuments allow us to do that. The evocative nature of these symbols ask the viewer to participate in the experience and remember what the object represents. A headstone connects a viewer to memories of the person it is for.
I have used these slides as preparation for a lesson in monument design with my eighth grade students. We talk about purpose and presentation and then we walk through the steps of monument design in the same way an artist would. Students work on developing a written idea of who or what in their lives deserves this type of recognition. Then, they create a rough sketch, followed by an artist's rendering of the monument in it's intended location. After that, the students create first a 3-D paper model that is followed by a small scale clay final representation. The end piece is a dedication of the monument written and presented to the class.