Playing around in camp and with tours…

By Savannah Lore

As I write this, we have finished our second day of the last session of the Wornall-Majors Summer camp. The theme of day two was Western Expansion and we talked to the kids about people in the 19th century traveling to the western United States. This was a great theme for the Alexander Majors House Museum as Majors’ history is so ingrained in this topic. We did activities that explained how people traveled and why. We also had presentations about how people lived in this period and how certain things were made. One of the favorites was the 19th century toy presentation, which offered the kids a chance to play with replicas of period toys.

toypresentation (Pictured is the toys brought by Jay Clasen of Friends of Missouri Town, who is demonstrating a toy in the right hand corner.)

This was a great way to get them to understand what toys looked like and how much of toys in this period was easily made, but still fun. This allowed us to go into an activity about making your own toys if you had to move west and left your toys behind (If you were lucky enough to have these kinds of toys or a lot of toys.) We made corn husk dolls and dressed them in period clothing.

Also as I write this, I have finished the first draft of my tour script. I wanted to talk a little about what I did with the content of the script in this post. The script for me was a challenge. I decided that I would create a master guide. A script that could be the go-to for a guide if they needed to know anything about the house. It was written in a narrative style to help guides talk about the information even if they could not include everything in the hour long (or half hour in some cases) tours. (Every tour is different.) I focused on two majors things: how the Majors lived in the house and how Majors could have the house built. This is to have multiple ideas¬†without it seeming disjointed. The family history, Majors’ history and 19th century history is throughout the script to help form connections to the information without being repetitive. This means using the Majors and the enslaved African Americans as the focus to direct the content and tell a great story to engage the visitors.

I still have a few days of camp and more edits to make on the script. What I have so far informs what I know of public history. I hope I am explaining history, which is complex and varied, to people and to children in a easy way, either quickly for tours or clearly for children.

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