Friday, April 11, 2014

Frontier Culture Museum's trustees hear educational historical interpreters

The Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia has been voted one of the Top 10 Places for Kids to Fall In Love with History. It is a unique outdoor living history museum made up of the English, Irish, German, 1820s American, 1850s American, and West African farms as well as the Irish Forge, 1740s cabin, and early American school house, and tells the story of the thousands of people who migrated to colonial America.

Friday's trustee meeting highlighted the historical and educational aspects with presentations from three of the young costumed interpreters who work at the various farms. Pictured here is local homeschool grad Erin Landry who shared her experiences at FCMV where she has worked since beginning as a volunteer at the age of 16. After graduating from college, she became a part-time interpreter and also takes the story of the museum on the road while visiting students in schools up and down the Valley as well as nearby West Virginia areas.

Full-time interpreter Sally Landes wore her street clothes, instead of her lady-of-the manor clothes that she usually dons for the English Farm, as she shared news of the John Lewis Society, the museum's organization for students age 12-16 who dress in period clothing and help with on-site tasks and act as junior interpreters. Currently there are around 50 members. Sally can usually be found tending the fire, making cheese, cooking, and demonstrating other daily activities from a 1600s English farm.

All four of these interpreters are not only knowledgeable about what they do but they also love being a part of the museum. It's like a family as staff and volunteers bring history alive for young and old alike.

Erin Landry

Lunch with the ladies between the morning trustee meeting and afternoon board of directors meeting. Operations Manager Lydia always puts out a wide assortment of sandwiches and wraps along with all the sides, fruit, and dessert.

Erin with a hands-on demonstration, much like the ones used throughout the outdoor museum exhibits.

Dr. Nwachukwu Anakwenze reaches for the flax that Erin shared. There's a video demonstrating flax being processed so it can be spun into linen here.

Alex, Director of Interpretation, shared information about the various programs including Homeschool Days that are held twice a year, in May and October. Be sure to read his recent blog entry about just another day at the museum called "The Great Pig Escape." You never know what the day will bring when working with animals and historic buildings.

Alex also shared information about the very popular summer camps that will be held again this year -- see information here.

Executive Director John Avoli shared that trustee member Dr. Anakwenze, a chief of the Igbo, arrived from California this week with several large bags and boxes of Igbo items including pottery, wooden bowls, and gourds. Dr. Anakwenze announced that 2,000 Igbo people will be attending their annual Festival at the museum in July. Read more about the Igbo at the Frontier Culture Museum.

Trustee Emmett Toms cards wool, one of the many hands-on demonstrations, as Erin looks on.

Erin carried flax and the after-product around the room for all to feel the different textures of the stick-like flax and the softer processed version ready to be spun into linen. The demonstrations and talks were educational and entertaining, and a further window into the world of the Frontier Culture Museum, a gem in the crown that is the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
April 11, 2014

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