– Exeter-Milligan and Friend students watch as Eric Stehlik sheers a sheep.
2013 pioneer school day -Exeter-Milligan second grade students invited their pen pals, the Friend second grade class to come and enjoy a Pioneer School Day together on April 25th at Saline County Museum. They are pictured in front of the one room schoolhouse front row from the left: Emily Brahstedt, Cece Murphy, Morgan White, Colby Martin, Gabe Jindra, Taylor Weber, Abby Gilmore, Shelby Steyer, Braden Benjamin, and Miss Baumert. Second row from the left Leah Rummery Mrs. Weber, Shelby Lawver, Jack Baptista, Chase Vnoucek, Chase Svehla, Timothy Weber, Olivea Swanson Zoe Brogman, Austin Banks, Cade Kresak, Connor Troyer, and Marcus Krupicka.
It felt like time turned backwards at the Saline County Historical Society Museum in Dorchester as their one room schoolhouse was full of students on Thursday, April 25th.
Exeter-Milligan second graders decided to invite their Friend second grade pen pals to their pioneer school day event this year. The seven Exeter-Milligan students were joined by 16 Friend students and their teacher Miss Baumert.
The students, teachers and helpers dressed up in pioneer clothing and started their day in the one room school house. Exeter-Milligan second grade teacher Marla Weber explained “small groups of students did reading lessons at the recitation bench while others practiced handwriting on slates and memorizing poems.”
Weber, has held the event for a number of years using the grounds at the museum as her setting. Museum board members have begun to add more experiences to the day to help the children understand their forefathers’ lifestyles more completely.
Prior to the event the students studied the pioneer life and learned what it would have been like for children growing up in the frontier.
Each student was given a pioneer name which was used as they were called forward to recite. They also learned to stand when they asked a question along with the protocol for entering and leaving the classroom.
For recess they played some of the games that were played in the days of the one room schoolhouse such as drop the three-legged race and the wheelbarrow race. When it was time for lunch the students along with teachers and helpers brought out their baskets and lunch pails to each lunches that were similar to those eaten by children long ago. They brought bread, cheese and fruit or cookies to eat with lemonade to drink out of pint glass jars.
Throughout the day the children had the opportunity to explore the museum grounds, seeing some of the special exhibits including an original log cabin home as well as an entire building of farm machinery and equipment.
Students also had the opportunity to make a jump rope with Les Vilda of Wilber who also spoke to the students about his experiences living and traveling like an early pioneer.
In the afternoon students were divided into groups and experienced different pioneer life sustaining essentials like washing clothes by hand, sewing with a foot pump machine, making butter, carving soap hanging clothes on the line and beating a rug.
In the machinery building the students learned how to use a corn sheller and then took the corn and planted in using a hand planter. They also got to run the siren on an old fire engine and explore the other pieces of machinery in the building.
Eric Stehlik stopped by the museum and showed them how to sheer sheep and taught them about how the wool was used in pioneer days.
Volunteers with the Saline County Historical Society were board members Judy and Roger Rada, Gene and Mary Ann Placek, and Eric Placek. Helpers with the students were Dianna Krupicka and Krista Hitchcock.
Weber thanked the Saline County Historical Society Board, "The Saline County Historical Society Board has been very supported of our annual Pioneer Day and have helped make the event successful."