"Highlights of History" for Gilford Steamer’s 15 July 2004 issue


Saturday morning, July 17, Gilford’s Thompson-Ames Historical Society, under the leadership of Kathy Lacroix, will offer a history workshop for eight children in grades 2 through 5.

The workshop entitled "Early School Days", which is designed to give the participating children an opportunity to experience school-day activities of the late 1800s and early 1900s, will be held from 10:00 a.m. until noon at the Society’s Union Meetinghouse, at 24 Belknap Mountain Road, in Gilford Village.

Workshop leader Kathy Lacroix, a retired teacher with a deep interest in history, chose the Meetinghouse as the site for this activity because one of the eight theme-area displays in this 1834 museum building, is ‘School Days". The theme display includes antique children’s desks, three from former one—room school houses and one from the 1938 opening of Gilford’s consolidated school house, as well as vintage pens, books, and slates. Mrs. Lacroix will also share a vintage sampler and a Home book replica from the Society’s collection.

Children will have the opportunity to use chalk to write on slate and quill pen to write with ink, and to view vintage staight-nibbed pens, blotting items involving sand and felt, and fountain pens from the Society’s collections.

Furthermore, Mrs. Lacroix will lead the participating children in sharing vintage learning games, replicas of historic wooden toys, and outdoor games. Refreshments will also be served.

Reservations for this children’s workshop can be made by calling the Thompson-Ames Historical Society’s telephone 527-9009. Participation in this workshop will be limited to the first eight children of the grade 2-5 range. A waiting list will also be created with the possibility of offering additional sessions of the workshop.

Kathy Lecroix’s "Early School Days" workshop is presented by Thompson-Ames Historical Society in its on-going attempt to preserve an appreciation of our cultural heritage.

Thompson-Ames Historical Society, a 501 (C)3 non-profit, was founded in 1943 as an educational organization. As such, it is understandable that great emphasis has been placed on developing and offering activities especially designed for children.

In keeping with this goal, Thompson-Ames Historical Society not only maintains extensive archival files but also has created more than two dozen theme displays in Gilford Village’s three historic museum buildings, the Grange Museum Building/i 857 John J. Morrill Store, the 1834 Union Meetinghouse, and the c1838 Benjamin Rowe House, all of which are listed on registers of historic buildings.

The relevance of items within each theme display helps create a better understanding of Gilford’s cultural history. This truism, of course, applies to the School Days theme area. On display there are vintage photographs of Gilford’s one-room school houses. In reality, many of these are annual school pictures taken to remember that year’s teacher and the student body. An opportunity presents itself to notice the clothing, shoes and hair styles evident in the each vintage photo to compare and contrast with today’s styles.

Have you ever wondered what end-of-school-year programs were like in the early days of Gilford’s consolidated school, to attract SO many community members to come to sit and applaud each year? A sample of such program can be found in the School Days showcase, along with a copy of a vintage eighth-grade diploma.

It’s obvious that the appearance of today’s Gilford Elementary School differs from Gilford’s newly-opened consolidated school in 1939. Included in the display is a depiction that shows the stages of growth that evolved along the years to house Gilford’s burgeoning enrollment.

To share Gilford’s museum displays with the public, Thompson-Ames Historical Society offers a variety of activities each year. Popular with students and teachers alike are the annual fieldtrip experiences that have become part of Gilford’s kindergarten and third-grade curriculum. Another is Kathy Lacroix ‘s summer workshop for children, which is scheduled this year for Saturday morning, July 17.

Other opportunities await parents and grandparents who wish to undertake a "Quest" historic tour with youngsters. Sharing with the younger generation is a fun way to develop and keep alive an interest in cultural heritage. Just contact Thompson-Ames Historical Society at 527-9009 to share your need/desire to have Gilford’s historical buildings and their museum displays available for your visit. Also, it’s a wonderful way to entertain out—of-town folks who are visiting with you!