The members of James Monroe High School’s Honor Society recently visited the Greenbrier Historical Society’s North House Museum in Lewisburg.
Thirty students were divided into groups of ten and rotated through a guided tour of the historic house museum and two special exhibits.
GHS Board member Janice Cooley curated her Invisible Roots and Legends exhibit on the history of the black community in Greenbrier County. Students learned about the African-American business community that grew after the Civil War, the distress of the Jim Crow era and segregation that prompted the necessity for the Green Book, a guide for African-Americans as they traveled through the American South and Midwest.
GHS’s Curator and Education Director Toni Ogden took students through the museum’s newest special exhibit titled Maps and Globes: The Art of Shaping Our World. The star of the exhibit, an 1828 terrestrial globe, was made by America’s first globe maker, James Wilson, and was known to have been used at an academy in Lewisburg over 100 years ago. Students enjoyed a slide show about the globe’s restoration process and watched a short video filmed inside of a present-day workshop where globes are still made by hand. Once in the exhibit, students used hand-held magnifiers to discover interesting details on the Wilson globe’s surface and to explore the historic maps on display, many of which are original and handmade.
The JMHS field trip ended with a walk to the Old Stone and Dick Pointer Cemeteries, led by GHS Executive Director Nora Venezky and AmeriCorps member Sarah Shepherd. Armed with a map and a name, students had to search the cemeteries to find interesting individuals buried there. Once they found the tombstone, they discovered more information about their person from the archives, such as obituaries, newspaper clippings, photographs, and government records. After the hunt, the students came back together to discuss the lives and deaths of their people. Cemetery scavenger hunts are fun with a purpose. In these outdoor museums, students practice graveyard etiquette, learn head stone symbolism and develop empathy for the lives of past generations.
The Greenbrier Historical Society offers a quality museum experience for class trips close to home. Its archives, collections and special exhibits enhance curriculum studies at any grade level. The Maps and Globes and Invisible Roots and Legends exhibits will be up through the month of April. To schedule a class trip, please contact Toni Ogden at 304-645-3398 or firstname.lastname@example.org.