Monday, October 09, 2006

Hands On History -- 2007 Dates

In 2007 we will once again have both spring and fall sessions. The 2007 dates are:

May 14-18, 21-24
October 1-5, 8-11

Please e-mail me for details or to make your reservation at shelley.mcclanahan @

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Getting to Quaker Knoll - Without Getting Lost!

Many of the internet maps available to help us navigate from place to place don't know the roads around here. I presume there have been changes made to the roads, but the bottom line is that the directions it gives are getting people lost!

If the mapping program takes you on Ogden or Beechgrove Roads, unless you already know your way, please take another route. I suggest getting directions to either Wilmington, Cuba or Clarksville, Ohio, then get directions from there to Quaker Knoll.

The address for Quaker Knoll is 675 Sprague Rd, Wilmington, OH 45177. Sprague Road is off Route 730, between Wilmington and Route 350.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Hands On History - Children's Work

A child's life on the Midwestern frontier was vastly different from that of the students that take part in our programs today. In presenting this difference we try to make each visiting student feel as if they were a part of a frontier family. They are introduced to the loneliness, isolation and quiet of a world immersed in a sea of trees, separated from friends and family, not only by miles but by months.

Using the actual tools of frontier living the students are given a small taste of the work of children at a frontier homestead. The real issue is why settlers were willing to undertake these risks and hardships. The students are introduced to the entity of the frontier family, its unity in the face of difficulty and its role in survival.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Hands On History - Update on Fall 2006, and new 2007 Dates

Our fall session of Hands On History at Quaker Knoll is filling up. These days are still available, some with limited space:

October 3, 4, 6, 9, 10, 13, 2006

Spring 2007 dates are:

May 14-18, 21-24, 2007
October 1-5, 8-11, 2007

Contact me for more details, or to make your reservation.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Hands On History - One Room School

At our One Room School station you get to experience life in the Ohio schools of the 1800's through the early 1900's. You will sit segregated by gender, learn about harsh discipline, short time to learn and thet it is a privilege, not a right, to go to school. Everyone in the room participates, there is no one excepted. You will also also learn about what was and wasn't taught.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Freight Wagon Project

The living history experiments are the cornerstones of Frontier Resources. We use our living history techniques to learn as well as to teach. Past experiments have included such projects as building homesteads and stations, taking packhorses through the mountains, road building and recreating military campaigns. We have found that the more complete and accurate the experiment, the greater the findings.

From the 4th through the 13th of August 2006, four people and four oxen took part in a living history experiment in Daniel Boone National Forest near Morehead, Kentucky. While there are a number of descriptions of wagons on the roads of eighteenth century America, practically nothing is known of their operation. We do not know the distances traveled, speeds, possible loads, nor the problems and solutions encountered. The purpose of the project was to examine these questions.

The project was strenuous. Some of the trails were no wider than the width of the wagon. Often the wagon had to be unhooked from the oxen and manhandled around a tree or switchback on a trail. Depending on the difficulties encountered, the wagon traveled from four to twelve miles a day. The load was varied from one thousand pounds to a ton to test the capabilities of the wagon and team.

The participants established wagoners' camps next to the trails in locations that would provide water and grazing for the animals. The people slept in the open or under tarps when necessary. The wagoner slept on his load in the wagon twice but found it very cramped and uncomfortable. Sleeping under the wagon never was possible because of the vegetation and terrain.

The foods were limited to those available to travelers in the eighteenth century along the Great Wagon Road. Most meals were based on dried meats, rice and sweet potatoes. Cornmeal was used daily in the form of hoe cakes or Johnny cakes. Beverages were most commonly cider or water, but some experimentation was done with "Liberty Teas" such as coffee, sassafras tea, pine needle tea and sumac tea.

Some of the initial findings of the project were:
  • We used every tool taken and did not need any tool we did not have on hand. What wagoners carried was well thought out and well designed for the tasks they were apt to encounter.

  • We found the unwaterproofed linen canvas bonnet shed water better than the waterproofed cotton canvas one. Linen canvas is a superior material for wagon covers.

  • The wagon was well designed for the task.. Some of the conditions were extremely rough, requiring negotiating ditches, steep creek banks, narrow trails, rocks and fallen trees. The wagon held up to all of these without any damage.

  • Four oxen can pull a fully loaded eighteenth century freight wagon without injury efficiently. When turning radius became an issue detaching one yoke (two oxen) and pulling the wagon with a single pair made the wagon more maneuverable and did not exceed the capabilities of the animals. After nine days of steady work, the animals did not lose weight and did not seem appreciably tired.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hands On History - What your day will be like

When you come to the Hands On History program at Quaker Knoll your group will be directed to an orientation area. Depending on the weather this may be indoors or outside. We will give a brief introduction and orientation to everyone, then each group or class will go to a presenter to start the program.

We have found that it usually works best for students to be in their normal classes, or groups of 15-25.

Our program is structured into 20-minute stations, with a costumed interpreter at each station. At each station your group will learn about a different aspect of our early history. When you finish with the current station your group will be directed to go to the next station in a clockwise fashion.

We have found it bet to keep as close to the children's food schedule as possible! When it's time to eat, just take lunch break in-between stations. When lunch is done just go to the next station in order. We will direct you when you leave each station, of course.

Your group will then continue through the stations in order until it is time for you to leave.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Dates no longer available for Fall 2006

These days are no longer available for scheduling during the Fall 2006 program:

Thursday, October 5
Thursday, October 12

There are other days with only limited availability. Please contact me for details.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hands On History Dates for Fall 2006

In October we have 11 days available for you to bring your class or home schoolers for some Hands On History. Dates are October 3-6, 9-13 and 16-17. Scheduling is done on a first-come, first-serve basis. We're starting to fill up already!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Hands On History - Western Movement

In the "Great Leap Westward" of 1779-80 two thirds of the people who made the move into the Cumberland settlements died in the first year, men, women, and children. Settling the frontier was a family struggle. Children were a necessary ingredient in the formula that permitted westward expansion. This program uses the tools and materials used by children their everyday lives on the frontier to explain their importance to the creation of the United States.

Description of Frontier Resources and how it got started

Frontier Resources is a traveling museum that was developed to provide a supplement to other museums, schools, historical societies and events for presenting programs on the history of the Midwest. We have tools, animals and people not normally available to most sites and more importantly the skills to use them and teach students how to use them. Our principal focus is "Hands on History".

We believe that involving young people in the activities of our past is one of the best ways to gain and keep their interest in History. We also believe that History is an important preparation for the future. At present, the organization, like any other museum has full time employees, a part time staff and volunteers. We also have access to wagons, plows, spinning wheels, and butter churns as well as most of the other tools of frontier living.

Frontier Resources was formed in 1994 by Gerry Barker. He recruited three other people who were equally interested in using Living History as a teaching method. Over the years we have presented the history of the Midwestern frontier to hundreds of thousands of school children through a series of hands-on programs as well as taking part in numerous living history projects such as building homesteads, stations and fur posts. We have taken part in military campaigns, herded cattle, built roads and gone on pack trains and wagon trains. In all of these activities the purpose has been research or teaching.

Hands On History - Wagoner's Lad (Freight Wagon)

An examination of the transportation industry in early America with a focus on the roles children held in the industry. The class is usually taught with a circa 1755 freight wagon and a team of four oxen. We have the students handle the equipment and a few from each class get a chance to drive the oxen. It is a very real insight into the world that moved at the speed of an ox.

Pictures and additional info here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Jumps research

Over the years various members of Frontier Resources have been researching 18th Century Middleground Frontier clothing and gear. Some of that research has been posted on my private blog:

Hands On History at Quaker Knoll Campground

For several years Frontier Resources has offered a school program designed to capture the interest of the student of Ohio history. The program makes maximum use of Hands-On and interactive learning.

Our specialty is “Hands-On History”. Our programs are designed to give students a taste of the activities, both work and play, of children of early Ohio. In other posts I will go into more detail about the various topics our members can present.

Quaker Knoll Campground is a lovely site on the north end of Cowen Lake State Park. It is located at 675 Sprague Road, Wilmington, Ohio 45177. We are also piloting a program that will come to your school.

Our 2006 Autumn program runs October 3-6, 9-13 and 16-17, 2006. Our 2007 dates are May 14-24, 2007 and Oct 1-11, 2007. The program takes about 4 hours, running from 9:30 a.m. until 2:00 P.M, or as your busing schedule permits. Cost is $5.00 per student. There is no cost for teachers and chaperones.

Please contact me for additional information, or to make your reservation.