Living History Programs
Barbara Van Dyke (BarbaraVD@AOL.COM)
Mon, 25 Sep 1995 09:40:07 -0400
Since I posted about a month ago on the subject of GSUSA, I received a few
email messages inquiring about GSUSA program. I thought I would report on
one activity in which our troop participated.
Our council (Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital) has an historical
interpretation program at a lockhouse on the C & O Canal in conjunction with
the National Park Service. Our troop (Junior Girl Scouts) participated this
September 24. It is sort of a dual purpose program -- part service project,
part history program. The girls' main objective is the service project,
cleaning the lockhouse and giving tours to visitors who stop by as they are
hiking or biking along the canal's tow path. The costumes are provided for
participating adults and girls and there is an attempt at maintaining
authenticity: girls must wear black or brown boots, only certain color
tights, ribbons in their hair. The lockhouse was built about 1830. It was
the home of the lockkeeper and his family. Our program attempts to re-create
a bit of the life of a working family around 1870-1885 when the canal was
The weather was not the greatest for us, a bit on the rainy and cold side.
But this is a historical interpretation program, and as far as I know they
did have rain back then too. Sunday, the girls made butter using an old
fashioned churn. Then they served it on saltine crackers to visitors. The
girls seemed to enjoy the day. They really liked wearing the costumes. I got
a kick out of it too. Every one got to participate in the different
activities: churning, serving, tour-guiding, cleaning. We're hoping to go
back next spring and do some different activities.
These living history-type programs are wonderful for the kids, I hope there
are lots of them around. If you have one in your area, check it out, if your
council doesn't organize one, maybe the Park Service or the State Parks or a
local historical society has something.
I'd like to hear about other groups' history program experiences. Anyone?
Barbara Van Dyke
Brownie Girl Scout Troop 1541
Junior Girl Scout Troop 717
Service Unit Co-Manager, Association 22, Service Unit 6
Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City