Students visit village at county museum
Published 11:41 am Thursday, May 8, 2014
For the last three weeks, Albert Lea High School juniors have learned the ins and outs of life in Freeborn County in the 1800s and 1900s.
The students put that knowledge into action Wednesday during the annual Discovery History Days at the Freeborn County Historical Museum, Library & Village.
The juniors, who are part of teacher Jim Haney’s humanities class, dressed up in pioneer garb and taught about life almost 200 years ago to groups of fifth-graders from the area.
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On Wednesday, students from Alden-Conger, Sibley and Halverson elementary schools participated, while students from Hawthorne and Lakeview elementary schools and St. Theodore Catholic School are expected today.
On Wednesday, the students took turns traveling to different parts of the village and library and taking part in activities at each.
“We want kids to taste, touch, smell and feel history,” Haney said.
The fifth-graders learned about everything from making rope to planting corn, to music and entertainment during that time period.
“They really get to experience what it was like in earlier times,” said Pat Mulso, executive director.
In the old schoolhouse in the village, juniors Lexi Gordon and Matt Carlson handed out name tags to Alden-Conger students with popular names from the 1800s. They said there were 120 schoolhouses in Freeborn County and each had pictures of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln hanging in the classroom.
They said children walked to school every day, and there were no snow days, regardless of the weather.
The students learned how to write their names and sentences with quills and outside learned games from the time period and saw an outhouse people might have had to use.
In another part of the village, the high school students taught about business life during the 1800s. There were stores for a blacksmith, photographer and even the city jail that the fifth-graders learned about.
Outside of the barber shop, they learned how barbers shaved men in the olden days, and the students practiced with the back side of a plastic eating utensil.
“I think the shaving was fun — the funny feeling of it,” said student Mallory Luhring of Halverson Elementary.
Student Shelby Hanson of Halverson said she liked shearing corn the most.
“It was kind of fun,” she said.
The 17th annual two-day event was expected to teach more than 160 fifth-graders on Wednesday, and the same number are expected today, Mulso said.
“It’s really a great experience intergenerational,” Mulso said.
A group of mentors oversaw the high school students and were on hand to answer additional questions.