I'll be bringing my kids to the Vermont History Expo
this year, because I can't think of a better way to show them that history can be fun and meaningful. That it isn't what I grew up thinking it was.
If someone had helped me understand earlier on that history was really a fascinating, ongoing story
about interesting people and the events in their lives and communities, then I probably wouldn't have hated it so much.
But for me, history class was always such a bore. It was nothing more than names, dates, and battleships. I felt so disconnected from the information that I was memorizing. I had no idea that history was really about people - the way they lived and the decisions they made. And that, in a nutshell, we are who we are today because of those who came before us. So history matters
I'll never forget my first trip to Williamsburg or Washington D.C. or Charleston, S.C. Suddenly, history meant something else entirely. It was a story. And I've always loved stories!
So give your kids the best history lesson of their lives --- by showing them that history lives and breathes outside of a classroom or textbook … and that they're a part of the story, too.
Vermont History Expo
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Tunbridge Fairgrounds, Tunbridge, VT
Admission: $10 adults; $5 students (ages 5 and under are free); $20 family pass
You don't need to be a history buff to enjoy the festivities at Tunbridge Fairgrounds later this month. The theme this year is, "Back to the Land, Again! Vermont Heritage Ways for Today." What a wonderful way to celebrate our state's rich heritage. Personally, I can't wait!
Here are some of the events to look forward to:
- Tons of exhibits from over 150 historical societies, museums, and heritage organizations
- Hands-on History Demonstrations (Timber Framing and Brick Making)
- Old-fashioned games and activities for the kids (stilts, hopscotch, beanbags, etc.)
- Animal Power Demonstrations
- Live Music
- Historical Presentations & Reenactments
- The Little Dig: Hands-on Field Archaeology
- Live Country Auction
- Heritage & Rare-Breed Animal Presentations
- A Collection of Vermont Scales
- And of course, plenty of food!
For more information, visit the Vermont Historical Society website
I hope to see you there!
Thanks to the Veterans History Project, initiated by the U.S. Congress in 2000, over 2,400 collections (which include written memoirs, oral interviews, letters, diaries, photos, and scrapbooks) have been digitized and archived in the Library of Congress.
If you or a loved one are a veteran and are interested in taking part in this nationwide effort to preserve our veterans' stories, a step-by-step guide
will walk you through the process.
Last weekend, a friend of mine sent me a link to an article in the Burlington Free Press
by Chris Bojahlian, whose uncle was a D-Day war hero. What the writer knows about his uncle's history and what he did on that fateful day takes your breath away. But what seems to haunt him - and all of us who have lost important people in our lives - is what he doesn't know
about his uncle's story. We may have the basic facts covered, but it's the "story," itself, that is often missing.
But when it comes to our war veterans, the process of collecting these stories is not always easy. No one wants to put their loved one in an uncomfortable situation by dredging up memories that have been buried for years. But sometimes, after decades of silence, our veterans are ready to share.
The question is, are we prepared to listen? An article in the Beacon News
last month tells the story of a veteran who wonders whether his grandchildren are interested in the stories that he is eager to tell. If we don't ask, then the assumption may be that we don't care. And what a tragic misunderstanding that would be.
So if you have a veteran in your family or community, don't make assumptions. Take the time to ask a few general questions about their military experiences, and then see what happens. You may be surprised.