For kids who are interested in learning more about the history of their hometown, the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History has just the ticket.
The Jesse Franklin Pioneers branch of the Tarheel Junior Historians is seeking students in grades four through eight who are interested in joining the group. The club is free to join.
Matt Edwards, executive director with the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, said he is excited about the upcoming year with the historians. Each year, the club delves into a different project that piques the kids’ interest.
“This is a way to keep things fun and interesting for them. We have something fun in store for the kids this year. I’m not going to say what it is. You’ll have to join the club to find out what we are going to do,” said Edwards.
Last year, the local chapter was named the chapter of the year at the statewide Tarheel Junior Historian Association.
“We’ve got a pretty good track record with these kids,” said Edwards.
The group also won the state’s literary contest for its geocaching project. That project was used as a template to receive grant money from the North Carolina Humanities Council to expand the program into a broader geocaching trail system in the greater Mount Airy area.
Edwards said the historian program is a way for the museum to vet larger programs for the museum.
“This is a great way to learn about local history. It’s a way to spark kids’ imagination in that it teaches them that where they come from has a story,” said Edwards. “One of the kids a couple of years ago suddenly drew a connection to her school name and a couple of the streets based on the research that we were doing on local families. She realized that it was named after somebody — it wasn’t just arbitrarily assigned. For us, it’s a way for them to draw that connection and make history come alive.”
Edwards said the project the group did two years ago in researching Oakdale Cemetery ultimately generated the cemetery tours and some of the stories on the ghost tours.
“It’s a great way for them to see how their research has a real world application. It’s one of the things that I think the schools have the hardest time doing is teaching local history,” said Edwards. “A lot of the curriculum they do is geared toward state and national history, and this is a great way for the kids to be able learn about local history.”
The club will meet weekly starting Sept. 13 at 3:30 p.m. at the museum.
For more information, call the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History at 786-4478.
Reach Mondee Tilley at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1930.