— photos by Bryan Haeffele/Hearst Connecticut Media
The Wilton Historical Society gave students in town a peek into what colonial life was all about.
Fifth graders participated in the historical society’s annual colonial life field trip last week. As part of the program, students got a hands-on approach to learning how people lived in the colonial times.
Historical Society Co-Director Kim Mellin said the students learn through participating in a variety of different tasks. In the blacksmith shop students learned weaving and spinning. To teach students about bartering a trading post was set up in the Raymond-Fitch House.
“They also get to make Portugal cakes which is a little sweet cake that has currants in it,” Mellin added.
"In the Burt Barn Gallery, students learned about Native American cultures from Darlene Kascak, from the Institute for American Indian Studies Museum. Over the course of several hours students worked through these four stations to learn not only colonial history, but a piece of Connecticut history.
“They’re all a little bit intertwined,” Mellin said of each learning station.
For example, in colonial times the skills taught in the blacksmith shop could help students develop goods to barter at the trading post, she said. What students learn throughout the day also coincides with the curriculum being taught in school. Currently, students are learning about early American history and how life was like back then, Mellin said.
“This is giving some visuals to what students are learning in the classroom,” she said.
The Wilton Historical Society has been hosting this event for a number of years, enabling students to learn their town’s history close to home.
“It’s a wonderful resource for the town,” Mellin said of the historical society.
Cider Mill School fifth grade teacher Maria Corti said the trip is important for kids to learn about their town’s past.
“(Students) are able to recognize the fact there’s local history and that this town was settled over 300 years ago,” Corti said.
She added the tools the students learn about at the historical society are not only tied to American history, but Wilton’s as well.
“They learn about the area in which they live,” Corti said. “It’s not just in a book.”
She added the experience was made possible thanks to the work of the historical society.
“The people here are so knowledgeable. You can tell they really love the history of where they live,” Corti said. “It’s also amazing to see tools, buildings and houses from Wilton.”