mtairynews.com

Hands on history

Keith Strange Staff Reporter

August 30, 2013

Many young people may think history is a ho-hum subject they must complete to graduate school, but one area organization is seeking to show them the subject can be both fun and exciting.


The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History is on the eve of the launch of the 2013-2014 Tarheel Junior Historians season, said Matt Edwards, museum director, and they want to get the word out that new members are welcome.


“Our club is known as the Jesse Franklin Pioneers, and has been in place for more than a decade, and we’re hoping for another successful year this year,” he said Thursday afternoon. “We’re continually an award-winning club and have twice been the North Carolina chapter of the year. We regularly have students who win either individual or group awards at the spring state conference.”


This year, the club is open to any county student in grades fourth through eighth, Edwards said.


“It’s free to participate, and we will meet weekly starting on Sept. 12,” he said. The club will meet from September through the state conference in April.


It’s goal? To show students that history can come alive.


“It’s a club designed to encourage and promote the study of North Carolina history among young people,” Edwards said.


And organizers want to make it fun.


“This year, we’re going to have a number of field trips planned as part of the curriculum, and the students also will be learning how to conduct historical research and turn that research into a tangible project,” Edwards said. “This year we will plenty of exciting opportunities for the kids, and the regular field trips will be something new. We will also be doing some hands-on activities that I think the kids will be excited about.”


And then there are the projects, for which the local club is know statewide.


Last year’s winning county projects are still on display at the North Carolina Museum of History. They will remain on display through the April conference.


Edwards said the club is seeking new members this year, and encourages anyone who may be interested to give it a shot.


“It’s open to everyone in grades four through eight,” he said. “And for the past several years, we’ve even picked up several home-schooled children, and they’ve been a great addition to the club.


“Our overarching purpose is to get kids excited about history and let them know that it’s not just something you read about in a book, but something that’s both fun and exciting,” Edwards added.


Anyone interested in participating should show up for the Sept. 12 meeting with their parents. The meeting will be held at 3:30 p.m., in the third-floor classroom at the museum.


“Just check in at the front desk and we’ll let them know where to go,” Edwards said.


Reach Keith Strange at kstrange@civitasmedia.com or 7191929.