Students visit the Home

Published 9:15 pm Saturday, April 21, 2018

There are now 22 certified Hormel Historic Home Shape Experts in Austin, and they are all about 6 years old.  Thanks to a grant from the Austin Area Foundation, we have now welcomed the first of five kindergarten and three first grades classrooms visiting from Woodson and Banfield.

In 2016 the AAF donated funds to help us kick off our History for Half Pints initiative with the addition of stations throughout the home where kids can learn a little history through age-appropriate hands-on activities.  We have a tea set, a ukulele, checkers, Lincoln Logs, books and dress up clothing that encourage children to engage with history through play.

This year they have made it possible for school groups to visit for official field trips by granting funds that cover the cost of bussing them here.  Our first group, the Red Owls, were led through the home in search of shapes.  Have you ever noticed the swirls in the wall paper, the diamond shapes in the dining room, hexagons in the kitchen or the cylinders on lamps and stair railings?  The hardest shape to find was the trapezoid but it can be found in a few lampshades.

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The children also experienced the craft of sewing, many for the first time.  With a plastic needle and a square of burlap, the kiddos were taught how fabric was pieced together to make clothes and linens many years ago. A square and a triangle can make a house, and our guests were able to outline these shapes with gold yarn reflective of the Home’s exterior today.

The themes for our field trips were designed with Minnesota curriculum standards in mind to encourage teachers to look for innovative ways to meet requirements in social studies, math, and science.  Working with shapes re-enforces math skills taught at the kindergarten level.

Our upcoming first grade visitors will focus on social studies as they experience life in the 1900’s on a tour led by a special “housekeeper.”  They will make butter the old fashion way and will also learn how sewing was an important skill for someone maintaining a home over 100 years ago.

The Hormel Historic Home is full of history but it also holds lessons in many other disciplines.  Field trip dollars are sometimes hard to come by, so we are grateful to the Austin Area Foundation for making an investment that allows young children to learn from history.

Another opportunity for young people to engage with historic activities will take place on Saturday, May 12 at our History at Play event.  This free event will feature games like leap frog and ring toss as well as a vintage photo booth and classic Mother Goose stories.  For more information on the History for Half Pints programming go to or call 507-433-4243.

Stepping Out for Autism Walk

1-3:30 p.m., Sunday, April 22 at the HHH Peace Garden

Walk—Donate—Sponsor—Support. Register at or at the Hormel Historic Home office. Enjoy music, photo booth, Lego hunt, raffle drawings, and pizza.

Viewing of Ken Burns Vietnam War Series

6:30-8 p.m., Monday, May 7