PIONEERS: Kids get hands-on history lessons at Pioneer Museum

Published 3:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Pioneer Museum of Alabama is widely known for its hands on history programs that are offered throughout the year.

Kari Barley, museum director, said the museum is a popular place for field trips for school groups and other kid-centered groups.

“The Pioneer Museum of Alabama’s hands on history programs bring history to life for children,” Barley said. “The children get to experience what life was like for pioneer children here in Alabama. Children have opportunities to churn butter, cook on a woodstove, sweep yards and other daily chores around the house and the farm. These hands-on experiences teach lessons they will long remember.”

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A group of children from the Boys and Girls Clubs Southeast Alabama in Ozark visited the Pioneer Museum of Alabama on Wednesday. Most of boys and girls were visiting the museum for the first time. And, it was for the first time that most of them had an opportunity to “tote” water and churn butter.

Martha Freeman, a museum volunteer, welcomed the boys and girls to the Demonstration Cabin and shared the history of the Nunnley family that moved to Pike County from South Carolina, and made their home in the small cabin.

Freeman told the children about the chores the pioneer children had to do including toting water from the branch.

“Do you know what a branch is?” she said.

One girl quickly replied, “a stick.”

Freeman said, yes, a branch can be a stick, but it’s also a small stream where pioneer children and their families got water for their daily lives.

“The stream was at the bottom of a hill so the children had to be very careful walking back up the hill with a bucket full of water,” she said. “If they were not, they would spill water from the bucket and have to go back for more.”

The boys and girls took turns lifting a bucket filled with water and found that water is “mighty heavy,” said Hunter Simmton.

The young “pioneers” also tried their hands at “making butter” in a churn and doing other chores around the cabin.

Slate Langenkamp discovered that pioneer children had many more chores that he has to do. “Hard work,” he said. 

Amber Chancy, Boys and Girls Club staff member, said the hands on history program at the Pioneer Museum is an outstanding way for children of all ages to learn about the life of pioneer children and hopefully appreciate the luxuries of life they have in today’s world.

The Pioneer Museum of Alabama is sponsoring “Bonnets and Buckles” in July.  The program offers a unique opportunity for children ages six to 12 to experience life as a pioneer child.

“The children will see what it was like to live in a log cabin, attend school in a one-room schoolhouse, help ma and pa with the daily chores and play pioneer games,” Barley said. “The program will be a great learning experience and a lot of fun.”

The half-day “Bonnets and Buckles” program will be from 9:30 a.m. until noon on Saturday, July 15. The cost is $15. The full day program will be from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Thursday July 20. The cost is $35.

Space is limited. For more information or to register call 334-566-3597.