It was a little gray and a little chilly Friday morning, but great fun as 4th-graders in the Chariton Community Schools District spent the morning with us at the Lucas County Historical Society Museum.
This is a carefully choreographed operation with a long history (a couple of parents along for the ride Friday remembered their visits as 4th-graders). The youngsters divide into eight groups and spend roughly 15 minutes each in eight areas of the museum, moving from place to place at the sound of the Otterbein Church bell.
My only job is to welcome everyone, then ring the bell every 15 to 20 minutes. Board members and volunteers guide the students at their various stops.
The closest I could come to a group shot was at the end of the morning when students reclaimed their sack lunches from the back pews in Otterbein, then spread out on the lawn to eat them before boarding buses for the return trip to Van Allen School.
Curator-emeritus Betty Cross was in charge in Puckerbrush School, hosting its first groups of visitors since restoration was completed. Current curator, Marilyn Johnson, and her daughter spent much of Saturday cleaning furniture and getting things in order --- and what goes on the walls still isn't there --- but it was great to have the 1874 building back in operation.
Frank Mitchell was in charge in the pioneer cabin, explaining among other things how family members the size of these students would be sent up a ladder into the loft at night to sleep.
Horse-drawn vehicles in the barn give the students some idea of how their ancestors once traveled around Lucas County.
In the Lewis Building, Bob Urlrich gave the youngsters an introduction to Lucas County history in the Perkins Room (why didn't we take that green work tablecloth off the conference table?).
Kathleen Dittmer provided a brief tour of our military display --- currently in the midst of major renovation --- in the Lewis Room.
And downstairs, our overcrowded 1930s kitchen offered plenty of diversions.
The Stephens House flower beds were looking good Friday morning, with chief gardener Kay Brown in charge on the first floor inside, and Lucinda Burkhalter, upstairs.
Here, Kay tries to explain why a piece of furniture in the back parlor was known as a fainting couch.
All in all, it was a great day; and having all of these kids trooping around the campus really is one of the highlights of the museum year.