Wilton public school second graders participated in the Colonial History Project at the Wilton Historical Society from Dec. 3 to 12. Run by energetic staff and volunteers, many in Colonial dress, the program reflects the historical society’s commitment to experiential learning and bringing our local history to life.
In the historic Abbott Barn, second graders tried on Colonial children’s garments and learned about the construction of a post-and-beam barn from Walter Smith, an expert in Colonial barn building. Jim Burch and additional volunteers helped children take a hand at churning butter, hoisting a weight on block and tackle, shaving a wooden peg, and cross-stitching embroidery.
In the Fitch House, Moira Craw engaged the children in learning about the household life of an 18th-Century child. Second graders were amused and astonished to learn how cold and uncomfortable the house was, and how many chores were the responsibility of Colonial children, from toting water to gathering firewood.
Through its educational programs, Mr. Smith said, the historical society provides two important educational components to the children of Wilton. First, many second graders have never been offered the opportunity to wield a tool and understand the innovation of our finished products. Second, Mr. Smith believes the study of the challenges of Colonial childhood assists in putting contemporary lives in perspective.