By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent
Parents whose children are interested in history might well be interested in giving them an opportunity to enroll in Ligonier Valley Historical Society’s “Young Historians” program.
Society members are offering this six-week program to students in grades six through eight. It is scheduled to take place Sept. 24, Oct. 1, Oct. 8, Oct. 15, Oct. 22 and Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to noon with the exception of Oct. 22; that session will take place during “Halloween Hauntings,” from 6 to 9 p.m.
During each session, students are to have the opportunity to explore both the Ligonier Valley Historical Society and Compass Inn Museum. They are to learn how to collect their own family stories, learn about the life as it was in the 18th and 19th centuries, participate in a treasure hunt through the archives and be taught valuable skills.
“They will have a chance to see how their own personal family history fits into the larger picture,” said Malori Stevenson, innkeeper, program coordinator and historian. “They also will have a chance to explore areas that are normally off-limits to the public and children — archives and collections — and help preserve some of these items. The whole experience will be hands-on.
“This experience is different than our school tours and summer camps. ‘Young Historians’ lets the kids do history in new and exciting ways. This is an enrichment experience. Kids will learn skills that will build on what they learn in the classroom while doing hands-on activities that make history fun. The program will also be a family experience. Kids will learn how to collect family stories and have a chance to preserve them.”
Stevenson will lead each session.
“I love showing kids that history is more than a list of facts in a textbook,” she said. “History is alive and interactive, especially the act of preserving the past. History is fun for me, and I hope to convey that to the kids.”
“Young Historians” is part of Ligonier Valley Historical Society’s “Engaging Kids with History” initiative, which gives children hands-on experience as it relates to historical topics.
The “Young Historians” program will conclude during “Halloween Hauntings,” where participants can enjoy telling spooky stories by candlelight.
There is a fee to participate in the “Young Historians” program. For more information or to enroll your children, call 724-238-4983 or email email@example.com.
“Understanding the past is vital to making sense of the present and the future,” Stevenson said. “It explains why we are the way we are, and can cultivate empathy. It helps us understand the world around us. The skills learned in ‘doing’ history are transferable across the disciplines.
“Besides, when done right, history is fun and relevant.”