The Wilton Historical Society received a grant from the Elizabeth Raymond Ambler Trust of Wilton. The $8,000 grant supports two important educational programs, the Young Yankees 4th Grade Colonial History Program and Barn, Blacksmith & BBQ, a family hands-on history day.
“The Society is extremely grateful to the Elizabeth Raymond Ambler Trust for their generous support” said Leslie Nolan, executive director of the Historical Society. “The Trust’s funding has a direct, positive impact on the content and success of these key programs, which teach history through experiential learning.”
The Young Yankees 4th Grade Colonial History Program, an on-going partnership with Wilton schools for approximately 20 years, just took place during the week of May 2. Over the course of five days, almost 500 fourth grade students from Wilton’s Cider Mill School, Our Lady of Fatima, and the Montessori School of Wilton, as well as home-schooled children, came to the Wilton Historical Society’s Museum Complex for one of the highlights of the 4th-grade history curriculum. Working in tandem with 4th-grade history teachers, the day-long visit provides a way to expand and reinforce classroom lessons through hands-on tasks and activities.
Designed as part of the school curriculum and aligning with CT State Social Studies Standards, the children have a hands-on history day, learning about Colonial-era daily chores and activities such as weaving, spinning, hearth cooking, spoke-shaving, barn raising, the blacksmith shop, trading and bartering, and life in the militia. Last year, the Society added a new experience with a Native American Narragansett descendant, who taught about local history and material culture in a large wigwam.
“While the Society’s small museum staff and experienced volunteers teach, provide demonstrations and assist with the programs, we no longer have sufficient volunteers with historic demonstration skills in many key areas” said Leslie Nolan, Executive Director. “Just in the last few years, the Society has lost two Emeritus Trustees whose contributions and impact on the Young Yankees program cannot be overstated. Mary Lou Logan and Walter R.T. Smith were, each in their area, skilled teacher/demonstrators whose deep knowledge of Colonial trades and tasks were the backbone of the program. This year we employed a hearth cooker, a weaver/spinner, a woodworker, a blacksmith, a specialist in Native American material culture, and a militia musician playing the fife and drum. These historic specialists distinguish the program, and provide an authentic, high quality educational experience for the students. The Elizabeth Raymond Ambler Trust made it possible.”