Thursday, May 27, 2010

So who had the most fun?

LCHS Museum Curator Marilyn Johnson introduces a roomful of fourth-graders to education back in the days when Puckerbrush School (built in the 1870s) was just one of more than 100 rural schools scattered across Lucas County.

It would be hard to say who had the most fun --- kids or adults --- during Thursday mornings visit  by well over 100 Chariton Community School fourth-graders to the Lucas County Historical Society Museum campus. It all went off without a hitch --- and the weather was spectacular.

Curator Marilyn Johnson already was unlocking the doors and opening various buildings by 7:30 a.m. All hands were on deck by 8 a.m. --- about a dozen volunteer LCHS board members, staffers and friends --- and the buses loaded with students, teachers and room parents rolled up between 8:30 and 8:45.

This annual visit by fourth-graders has been scheduled for many years, and it is a logistical marvel. Students were divided into four groups by classroom with members of a fifth class divided among the other four so that four groups were constantly on the move, covering 10 stations in a little more than two hours.

Once off the buses and grouped, the kids trooped up the circle drive to deposit their sack lunches by group --- so that they could be retrieved easily later --- on back pews in Otterbein Church; in one door; out the other in short order.

The students all spent half an hour at Puckerbrush School and seven to 15 minutes at the other stations: upstairs and downstairs in the Stephens House, Otterbein, the log cabin, the Swanson Gallery (vintage vehicles and farm equipment), the mining gallery (which includes business exhibits), the Crist Gallery (where 20th Century exhibits are located), the John L. Lewis Gallery and the Perkins Room, which also contains the commons area, restrooms and the like.

LCHS Board member Frank Mitchell introduces fourth-graders to some aspects of pioneer life during a visit to the log cabin Thursday morning.

LCHS board member Jim Secor talks about life in the coal mines of Lucas County during Thursday morning's fourth-graders tour.

LCHS Board member Bill Marner, stationed in the commons area of the Perkins Room, introduces fourth-graders to the Mormon Trail display housed there.

It all went like clockwork, thanks to efficient teachers, really great groups of kids and our volunteer guides who did a fantastic job of keeping the kids informed and entertained.

Everyone wanted to ring the Otterbein bell, of course, but that we couldn't do because it had to ring at regular intervals to signal that it was time to shift stations and random rings would have just confused the issue. At 11 a.m., however, when the kids were through with the tour and trooped through Otterbein to pick up their lunches, everyone who really wanted to was allowed to ring the bell.

It was pleasantly cool and shady under the big trees on the south lawn as students gathered to eat their lunches, then climb aboard buses for the trip back to the 21st century.

At the end of the morning, students collected their sack lunches from the back pews of Otterbein Church and enjoyed their meal on the lawn.


Just a reminder that as of Saturday we're officially open for the season and will be open daily from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday until the end of September. If you're in the neighborhood please stop in for a visit. If you can't get here during regular hours, send us an e-mail or give us a call and we'll work something out. Tours, as always. are free --- but wear sturdy shoes and plan to stay a while. There's lots to see.

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