The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation house museums have developed school programming designed to spark young children’s interest in history. At Hay House, for instance, youngsters learn about the basic house structure from familiar fairy tales and games. Older children are involved in an elaborate program that illustrates family life and social customs of a particular period by inviting students to see the house as it would have been prepared for an elegant social event. High school students are invited to “behind-the-scenes” tours with insight into the design, structure, and systems of the home.
The McDaniel-Tichenor House in Monroe also hosts school tours, but a major part of their educational program involves making on-site visits to schools. Since some schools may not have the time or resources to take a field trip, the McDaniel-Tichenor House brings Georgia Trust Heritage Education programs to the classrooms. One of the planned programs is a “trunk show,” a colorful plastic trunk that may be filled with a variety of items such as period costumes, photographs and artifacts relating to state, local, or house history, depending on the class curriculum.
The Georgia Trust’s house museums have become popular destinations for adventurous teachers and students looking for an “active” approach to teaching and learning. By creating programming that appropriately targets school needs and curricula, visits to these sites offer tangible illustrations of history and help students see the past as more than just words on a textbook’s page.
“For Your Consideration,” The Docent Educator 10.1 (Autumn 2000): 7.