Third grade students in Kari Egan’s class visited the Hansen-Newell-Bennett House on October 1. The historic home is the DeForest Area Historical Society’s major museum located on East Elm Street in DeForest. It is restored to reflect family life during the first part of the 20th century before the advent of electricity. Local volunteer Pat Asmussen brought to life for students the atmosphere of a home without electricity, guiding them through the Victorian parlor, formal dining room, kitchen with a wood-burning stove, a bathroom with an original claw-foot tub, and bedroom with a period iron bed.
Historical Society president John Engelsby provided students with a tour of the second floor, which documents the history of the rural schools, area churches, and businesses.
After the tour, students participated in a variety of related, hands-on learning activities at the DeForest Area Public Library, led by Louise Valdovinos. The activities were designed to replicate those which children of one century ago might have taken part in. They included examining stereoscope cards using “3-D Book Viewers” and an original stereoscope, “churning” butter using glass jars, using a washboard and tub, and experiencing the “Palmer Penmanship” method.
The project is a partnership among the DeForest Area Historical Society, DeForest Area Public Library, and DeForest Area School District, and supplements the District’s Adopt-a-Class partnership between Kari Egan’s 3rd grade classroom and the public library.