Teaching the future about the past

The Jefferson County History Center is proud to partner with area schools to provide educational programs for kids of all ages. Through coordination with educators, we are able to offer field trips, after school programs and summer activities. 

We encourage you to explore some of our past programs and contact us to discuss opportunities for your students.

What have our students been up to?

Fall 5th Grade Field Trip

On October 26, we hosted a field day for the Hickory Grove 5th graders (125 kids) at the Old Brookville Cemetery, next to the Parker Archives building.

The kids enjoyed activities at 5 different stations:

  • Archives & Artifacts – Students worked in pairs to examine artifacts from the archives and record information on their “Mystery from History” worksheets.
  • Scavenger Hunt – Students visited one section of the cemetery to search for a list of items on the tombstones in that area.
  • Iconography – Students discussed the meaning of symbols used on the tombstones and how they reflect the life of the people buried there. Then, they created icons of their own to represent themselves.
  • Tombstone Cleaning – Students worked in small groups, each assigned a tombstone. They recorded observations about the stone before cleaning, then performed some basic cleaning with soft bristled brushes, scrapers and rags. Adult volunteers sprayed each group’s stone with the “Wet and Forget” cleaning solution. After cleaning, students again recorded their observations of the tombstone.
  • Biographies & Tombstone Design – Students worked in small groups to look over examples of tombstone designs, then design a tombstone based on the biography of a deceased county resident.

The kids were also given the opportunity to purchase items from the gift shop.

The weather was perfect for these outdoor activities, and feedback from the kids and volunteers was overwhelmingly positive.

March Raider Time

During Raider Time in March, the students were treated to a fascinating presentation on the history of photography by Eric Armstrong. 

They learned how photos have changed over time, from daguerreotype, ambrotype and tintype to film and Polaroid instant cameras. Eric demonstrated his own Brownie 620 film camera and a photo he took with it about 70 years ago. He explained the processes used in the first decades of photography and how slow, cumbersome and sometimes dangerous they were. 

The kids truly enjoyed seeing the evolution of photography and gaining a better understanding of the many steps involved in reaching today’s photographic marvel – the camera phone.


February Raider Time

The JCHC Education Committee introduced the students to Ron Shrewsbury, who is a Civil War re-enactor specializing in the medical practices that were in use during this time. Ron explained how a doctor or surgeon during the war would have treated the variety of injuries sustained by soldiers in the field. The sometimes-gruesome  treatments, like amputation, and simple surgical tools certainly gave the students a better appreciation for our modern medicine.

January Raider Time

JCHS Education committee members organized a Brookville: Then and Now activity for the students who attended Raider Time.

First, the students viewed a brief presentation that contained photos of Main Street buildings as they looked years ago.  The students then worked in small groups to match 42  “then” and “now” photos of individual Main Street buildings.  The students used their observation skills to notice similar features on the building to find matching sets.  Their skills were put to the test when they had to find a match for a building that no longer exists on Main Street, or has been replaced with a newer building.

It was an interesting learning experience for the students and the adults because there was so much interaction and discussion!

November Raider Time

At November Raider Time, the students brought Dennis McFadden’s poetry to the stage. Each group chose a poem from “Never Lick a Flagpole” and created a short skit based on the poem. The students’ creativity was on full display as they brought McFadden’s hilarious characters to life.

October Raider Time
October Raider Time was all about spooky stories. Linda Barnes told a fun story on “Blunts special sausage.” Gabby McLaughlin talked about her experience catching a photo of a ghost at the Jenny Wade House in Gettysburg. She also taught the kids about Thomas Litch and the haunted parlor at the History Center. Jill McLaughlin shared an interactive story called “Old Man’s Brains.” The kids got to feel mystery items that represented the old man’s body parts. Several students shared their own spooky stories too! 
September Raider Time

JCHC meets monthly with students in grades 3-6 who participate in the elementary after school program, “Raider Time.”

For September’s activity, students had the opportunity to observe 12 artifacts. They then tried to determine what those artifacts may have been used for and how they may have changed over the years. The students were very excited to learn what each item actually was. Can you identify the items in the pictures? Number 5 was a big hit with the kids!

Educational Resources

Looking for some activities or information to share with your students? Check out these links!

Contact us about our education programs

Call the History Center at (814)849-0077 or email [email protected] to learn more about education opportunities for your students.