|Norm Makes A Visit To Killingly High School|
David: Killingly High School's Construction and Architectural Career Pathways students and teachers hosted Norm Abrams of "This Old House" on Jan. 15. Abrams visited the school with staff from Old Sturbridge Village, where students have been working on reproductions of historical artifacts.
Abrams honored the contributions of the students through their ongoing partnership with OSV. More than 250,000 people visit the living museum annually. They are treated to costumed docents who use and explain the tools and wares that were common in the 18th century. The OSV has about 60,000 historical artifacts in their collection. Most of them are behind glass cases. Staff wear white gloves whenever they have to handle them. Which is where Killingly High School comes in.
The students began making reproductions for the staff to use daily. They've built tavern tables, yarn counters, a rocking horse, a potter's wheel, a shoemaker's bench and clamps, children's toys and a wheelbarrow. And they've done it all using tools available in the 1800's.
Abrams, who is on the Board of Directors at OSV, said the projects emphasize craftsmanship, creativity and problem solving. In the end, students also came away with an historical appreciation for the country's beginnings.
Students completed their projects with rough lumber, working mostly with hand tools and in some cases hand-carving some pieces. One student, Ed Raheb, recreated a wooden wheelbarrow using old wood and metal pieces he found in his back yard. He tried shaping metal in a fire pit, but eventually worked with blacksmiths at OSV to heat and forge the piece into a wheel.
Raheb credited his calculus teacher, Michael Bourgeois, with measurement help. "Math is very important," Abrams said. "There's a lot of problems in construction and you have to be creative, solve problems and sometimes work with what you have."
Students worked primarily in groups on the projects. Nick Keene, who helped build a yarn counter, said the project offered several challenges, especially where the gears were concerned. "The special cuts were time consuming and frustrating," he said.
Tom Kelleher, OSV's curator of mechanical arts, praised the students for their creativity in producing one-of-a-kind pieces. "This work provides unique challenges in terms of craftsmanship," he said.
Construction Technology teacher Todd Zagurski said students have recently started construction on a two-story playhouse modeled after an 18th century home. When it's complete, the students will dismantle it, bring it to OSV and re-assemble it on-site. Children visiting the museum will be allowed to play in it and explore its rooms. Zagurski hopes to expand the program, ramp up production of artifacts and even branch out.
Abrams hopes the partnership will continue to inspire young people to take a greater interest in history. And OSV CEO and President Jim Donahue said Killingly has opened the door for other schools to get involved.
Students in other career pathways programs are already involved. Video Technology students documented this project and has created some promotional material for OSV. Agricultural students are working with the village's animals.
Killingly Board of Education Chair Alexis Rich said she was impressed with the detail of the students' work and appreciative of the partnership with OSV. "This is a real life opportunity to explore history, careers and avocations and build on them," she said.
Source: Article By Denise Coffey of Reminder News