Trip in time machinePublished 9:45pm Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Last week the Edwardsburg Museum hosted more than 200 second grade students from the Eagle Lake School. The objective of the field trip was to provide the students with a glimpse of Edwardsburg history and “the old days.” Each class was divided into four groups of six or seven children and rotated around the museum for mini sessions in four different areas.
The first area was the business machines. This included the typewriters, calculators, telephones, cash register and if there was time, the post office mailboxes. This gave the students a hands-on opportunity to dial the phones and compare them to today’s cell phone. Each child was given the chance to dial a phone and they had a little trouble getting their fingers out of the dial. They also saw how big calculators were before pocket ones and they could type their name on the typewriter and see it printed as they typed. All of these were new experiences for most of the students.
The second area they moved to was outdoors. There they were introduced to the outhouse, the water pump, the push mowers and the clothesline. Each child was given the opportunity to push the mowers, hang clothes on the line with clothespins and pump the handle of the water pump.
But mowing the grass was the most fascinating part. Most wanted a mower at home. Sadly, we knew that the fascination would only last about 10 minutes and then they would tire of it.
Pat Bellaire, who grew up on the museum property, pointed out where the barn was located as well as the chicken coop and the outhouse. It was her backyard and she knew it well.
Next the students moved into the old house section of the museum. There they saw the old coal burning cook stove, the old washing machine and laundry tubs as well as homemade soap. They saw the irons that were heated on the cook stove and the Hoosier cupboard where cooking supplies were kept.
The last area was the schoolroom. Here the students were introduced to the concept of the one room schoolhouse. Two former teachers told of the old time classroom where all students of all grades were in one room. They could see the old second grade books that were used in the 1800s.
A picture of a classroom from the 1863 Edwardsburg School was shared.
Mary Montgomery, a former teacher at Swamp School, a one-room schoolhouse, described what it was like to be a student in the school.
Unfortunately, this field trip was just a quick glimpse of Edwardsburg history for the students, but there is much more to see and experience in the museum.
Museum volunteers who helped with the tour were retired teachers Marge Hanson, Mary Geminder, Shirley Andrews, Marie Smith and Mary Montgomery and others who helped were Marge Rea, Dorothy Skronski, Virginia Kraft, Sally Kurtis, Marge Braniff, Janice Leist and Pat Bellaire. Leigh Goyings provided additional helpers: Clark Mead, Jerry Love, Bob Fuller and Lorraine Bylsma.
There is much more Edwardsburg history to be discovered in the museum. The museum will be closing for the season Dec. 17. The museum is open every day from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and closed Sunday. There will be a Holiday Open House on Nov. 26 from 5 to 7 p.m.