Pioneer Museum offers learning opportunities for students, adults

Published 6:33 pm Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Pioneer Museum of Alabama is already in its back-to-school mode. On Wednesday, the museum staff led a group of students from Gunter Schools in Montgomery on a tour of the museum that included a trip to the peanut patch and a demonstration of the spinning wheel and loom.

“We had a large group and they seemed to have a good time and, hopefully, they learned a lot about the way life used to be,” said Jerry Peak, museum director. “The museum offers several group tour choices. The general tour is a self-conducted tour and most groups of adults choose to enjoy their tour at their own pace. But most school groups choose one of the hands-on history tours.”

The Pioneer Life hands-on history program is one of the most popular tours for school groups.

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“The Pioneer Life tour is held in the demonstration cabin and includes just about everything about pioneer cabin life, from cooking on a wood stove to sanitation,” Peak said. “Groups that choose the Native American hands-on history program have two choices. They can choose the program on Native American dance, which teaches not only the dances but also their interpretation and importance. The other Native American program includes all aspects of the Native American culture.”

Other hands-on programs include the spinning and weaving demonstration, the quilting demonstration and a new program that is planned for the coming year, “From the field to the table.”

“In this program, the students will get to pull corn, shuck it, shell it, grind it into meal and then enjoy the corn, finally, as hot cornbread,” Peak said.

With some schools being financially stressed, Peak said the museum provides area schools with opportunities for nearby historically based field trips.

“A fee is charged per student but, through the generosity of the United Way, the museum will be able to provide a bus and driver for schools that want to take field trips to the Pioneer Museum of Alabama,” Peak said.

However, students are not the only ones who can enjoy and benefit from the tours and programs at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama.

Peak said senior adult groups also enjoy the demonstrations of the old-time crafts and skills and often find their way to the museum’s demonstration cabin for a morning “back home in grandma’s kitchen.”

For more information about the programs and opportunities at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama, call 334-566-3597.