A day at Stroud Mansion
Joan Deering looks at the dolls in a cabinet. She especially like a three-wheeled doll carriage.
It was the fourth year the Monroe County Historical Association held an education day and open house in conjunction with Stroud Fest. The home of the association is in the Stroud Mansion at Ninth and Main streets in Stroudsburg.
Joan Groff, head of the education committee, had volunteers for 23 activities working at tables set up in the yard of the historical building. In a link to the Civil War anniversary, there was an encampment for the first time. The book readers, Sue Brink and Linda Rogers, read to the children and in honor of the Civil War. One of the books was "Abe Lincoln's Hat." Each child received a paper hat and a notecard to store in it as Lincoln stored papers in his hat.
Tricks to help children understand math were used such as the large cards with numbers in a circle. A visitor was asked if the day of his birthday was on the card. It would be on all but one and the volunteer could determine what the day actually was.
It was a clever way of using math, said Gen Battisto, math volunteer, who also had other fun math projects.
There was paper cutting which looked like a flat railroad track but that, when cut properly, looked like a television screen.
Old roof slates for visitors to write or draw on were reminiscent of the slates used in one-room schools. Bev Kleinle helped children take paper shapes and form them into a quilting square which could be added to a paper quilt or taken home. It showed how quilt designs were used to make blankets.
Shirley Young was giving herb demonstrations talking about the herbs planted in the garden, a garden that is in the running for an award by the Horticulture Society which visited recently for judging. The Society was impressed with the large trees in the small urban yard.
The three sisters of planting by natives were corn which provided a strong center pole for squash and beans - though this year the corn did not grow well and the squash spread out through the garden plot.
A "pizza" garden contained tomatoes, onions, oregano, and basil. There is no commercial fertilizer used on the gardens, but they are well-kept with peat and mulch.
"There is nothing to smile about," said reenactor Corporal Mark Botti when he was told to smile for a picture. War is never a smiling thing whether it is today or the Civil War 150 years ago. With him were General Hank Kretz and Colonel Ed Avasso of the 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery of Mount Pocono.
The Civil War is the favorite period of history for visitor Michael Corey.
The group goes twice a year to the Army College in Carlisle where they teach artillery moves. Artillery was aimed manually until the early 1980s. They recommend the book, "The Killer Angels," about the war. It was used for the movie "Gettysburg."
The temporary exhibit at the open house was for the Girl Scouts' 100th anniversary. A docent explains the origin of the term "mad as a hatter." When hatmakers made beaver top hats, they worked with mercury which leads to madness.
Brett Fowler designed the renovated children's room on the third floor. In addition to toys, there are school desks because that is where they would take their lessons. By chance, the room was painted the same color it had been in an earlier period though it was not known at the time it was newly painted.
Director Amy Leiser said the open house was a good introduction for Stroud Fest which began on the opposite side of Ninth Street. "We love any opportunity to show off our building," she said.
There is an active education committee and the education day is their brainchild. It is filled with crafts and activities that do not use batteries
It changes each year. They keep the most popular activities and add to them. Leiser said it is always Labor Day weekend and in conjunction with the Stroud Fest. This year she was happy for the beautiful weather.