History and the young

Published 7:01 am Sunday, July 30, 2017

On a recent rainy Friday morning, the Hormel Historic Home History for Half Pints team invited shape hunters ages 2 to 10 to tour the house.

For this tour the guests were led by a specially trained Shape Expert (aka volunteer SarahLynn Zavoral). Children bring a unique perspective to life, and that is evident when exposing them to history. Over the past couple years our team has been implementing features aimed at capturing the attention and interest of the youngest of our visitors.

Through the History for Half Pints programming we are hoping to inspire a new generation of history lovers. By offering the Shaping History tour, we allowed children to explore the home while looking for shapes that are common wherever they go. Learning shapes is a very elementary skill, but it is one that helps us understand our physical world. In our case, we used shapes to help young people understand the historical world.

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In the historic kitchen, the children were shown the hexagonal shape of the floor tile, the square tiles on the countertop and the rectangles in the beadboard panels. When asked to look for other shapes, they noticed the square door by the stove which was used by the kitchen help to pass food through to the servers in the butler’s pantry. This door allowed easy access while keeping noises and smells mostly in the kitchen so as not to disturb the diners.

Guests are often fascinated by the ceiling pattern in the dining room. The Shape Expert pointed out the hexagonal trim that creates the honeycomb design and encouraged the kids to count the sides of the shapes. There are columns in several rooms in the home including the conservatory in the dining room so their cylindrical shape was described as was their Greek origin.

The historic library showcases arches in the brickwork on the fireplace and in the leaded glass window above the door to the sun porch. Matching diamond shapes in the oak paneling declare the symmetrical nature of the square room. In this room the columns are one dimensional and rectangular in shape, but they still represent the relevance and integrity of classic Greek architecture.

Presenting our little piece of history on a child’s level gave everyone the opportunity to look at the house through a different lens. The young guests (and their adults) engaged with history in a new way that we hope will influence how they approach the past in their futures.

Bissen Family & Friends Band

6:30 p.m., Monday, Aug. 14

Learn the history and music behind some of Minnesota’s greatest bands and singers. Popular local musicians will educate and entertain.