History Lesson at Shelburne Museum
November 16, 2011
“Wait! This house was built 200 years ago?!,” a seventh grade student asked as we climbed the steps to the front door of Dutton House at Shelburne Museum about a month ago. Inside the dark and somewhat musty house, students contemplated what it might have been like to bake bread every morning, and to keep a fire going on cold winter nights. History is much more fun when you can reach out and touch it. Ask any seventh grader, they will almost certainly agree!
This year, the seventh grade class takes a field trip once a week. Some of our destinations have included Shelburne Museum where students saw the progression from log cabin to clapboard house, and Shelburne Farms where they took in the grandeur of the Gilded Age. This past Tuesday, students gathered around a table at the Shelburne Farms Archive and admired a Tiffany & co. watch which had been recently donated by the great-grandson of Dr. Webb. Julie Edwards, the curator, passed around a photograph of Dr. Webb with the pocket watch and spoke of how the Webbs had their own post office as well silver cutlery sets for each of their yachts. It’s one thing to tell students about the wealth of the Gilded Age, but it’s another entirely for them to see it in grand architecture and solid gold pocket watches.
posted by Heather Moore