The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History’s Jesse Franklin Pioneer chapter of the Tarheel Junior Historians received three individual awards and one team award at the Tarheel Junior Historian State Convention in Raleigh.
The Jesse Franklin Pioneers received second place in the Elementary Division Literary Contest for preparing a script of an old-time radio program.
Matthew Edwards, Mount Airy Museum of Regional History’s executive director as well as Junior Historian chapter adviser, said a lot of research went into the script for the old-time radio show: they examined old newspapers and primary source documents and created a “circa 1943 old-time radio program, complete with ads, drama, crime drama, soap operas, and other little components including sound effects.”
Edwards said Brack Llewellyn from Nonesuch Playmakers and WPAQ assisted the group, who traveled to WPAQ for a tour and a lesson about radio. The production of the radio program will be aired on WPAQ — Edwards said they are working to put the final touches on the radio program before it is released.
“One of the challenges with the team award is that our ideas tend to fall outside the box, so to speak, so we have to make them fit into the criteria they put together for the competition. Our goal was to make history fun and exciting and applicable to their lives, and sometimes that means doing projects outside the realm, our geocaching project is one example, it’s outside the realm of a traditional project, but we were able to make it work and they loved it.”
Three Junior Historians received individual awards at the competition: Olivia Edwards and Emily Richardson for the artifact search category, and Jonathan Casey, who won second place in the elementary division of the Historical Essay Contest.
The artifact search competition involved Junior Historians searching for an object owned by their family that may be “pertinent to North Carolina history,” explained Edwards, who also said the competition gives out fifteen awards in total for the artifact competition.
With only 15 awards handed out for the artifact competition, it is significant that two local Junior Historians received awards, Edwards noted.
Junior Historian Olivia Edwards is a fourth grade student at Millennium Charter Academy. She received the award for the research she did about a Berringer pistol, a family heirloom that was owned by one of the sheriffs in Ashe County.
Emily Richardson, Junior Historian and fourth grade student at Millennium Charter Academy, received an artifact award for research she did on fireplace pokers from her grandmother’s home.
Jonathan Casey is a fourth grade home school student and member of the Junior Historians. His essay about a natural resource that “plays an important role in North Carolina’s history” won 2nd place in the Historical Essay Contest’s elementary division.
A group of 12 Junior Historians, in addition to advisers, traveled to Raleigh for the state convention and competitive events. This year, they celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Tarheel Junior Historian Association.
Edwards said the convention featured hands-on learning activities at the North Carolina Museum of History.
The group participated in a program about Moravian pottery decoration and tradition, a program about Native American culture featuring the Sauratown woman who was from the Stokes County area with details about the archeology and research that went into the reconstruction of the model of the Saura woman. The chapter also participated in a music heritage program.
The Jesse Franklin Pioneer chapter of the Junior Historians has been active at the museum since 2005-06, according to Edwards. The museum’s chapter was named chapter of the year twice and has received individual or team awards every year they participated in the convention’s competitive events.
Edwards said the awards set a “high bar in terms of the kind of projects we do and what we expect from the kids participating” and praised the chapter members for “meeting and exceeding those expectations.”
The Junior Historians have worked on past projects that Edwards described as “pruning ground” for projects the museum wanted to “implement on a larger scale.”
“Folks who are familiar with museum programming may recognize some of the past junior historian projects. For example, the geocache program we are getting ready to launch was originally submitted as a club project and field tested through the Junior Historians. Then we received grant money and were able to purchase equipment and implement our larger scale geocaching program” which Edwards said will launch soon.
Edwards also said the museum’s ghost tour uses some of the research conducted through the Junior Historians.
The winning entries for the competition will be displayed in the Tarheel Junior Historian Gallery at the North Carolina Museum of History for the next year, said Edwards, who also remarked that the gallery was recently renovated.
“The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History and the Jesse Franklin Pioneers have been well-represented in the museum and that is really something to be proud of.”
Reach Jessica Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1933.