It was a momentous day. Tuesday, November 24, 2015 the staff of the North Carolina Room joined with the staff of the Youth Services Department, Pack Memorial Library and invited the third grade class at Isaac Dickson Elementary to visit the North Carolina Room.
Our hope was to show the students a little bit about what is in the North Carolina Room, to make history fun, and to help students to see how they are a part of history.
We explained that we previously had no photographs of their school building–and tried to explain how “we don’t get out much.” But because we knew the students were coming, we went out and took some photographs of the new Isaac Dickson on Hill Street (just behind the Asheville Chamber of Commerce) currently under construction.
We showed the students how to go to our website for special collections at ncroom.buncombecounty.org and to search in the keyword box for Dickson Elementary to see the photographs we took.
We showed them a photograph album from our Special Collections that documents the work of M.A.G.I.C. (Mountain Area Gardeners In Community) a nonprofit organization that started in Asheville in 1982 and ended in 2000 due to lack of funding. M.A.G.I.C. worked with students, parents and teachers at Dickson in 1992 on making and planting garden beds. We talked about how the students in this picture, that was taken 23 years ago, were now in their early thirties.
Hoping to help the third graders visualize a sense of time–past, present and future–we created a timeline, estimating when their parents, grandparents and great grandparents were born and would have graduated from high school.
Using the timeline, we showed them the actual school annuals from Asheville High, for the years when their parents would have graduated circa 2000 . . .
and then when their grandparents might have graduated, circa 1976 . . .
and then when their great grandparents might have graduated in 1950.
Then we blew out all the stops. Since Dickson Elementary is located in the Montford neighborhood, we pulled out a photo from a 5 x 7 archival box, protected in an archival sleeve, of an elementary class at the Montford School taken 118 years ago, around 1897. We told them we had all of the student’s names including the teacher, Miss Minnie C. Johnson (later Mrs. J.F. Pickens.)
We ended our time together by offering the students a “History Mystery” Scavenger Souvenir Hunt using our three current exhibit cases of Asheville Souvenirs. They hunted for a doll made from a corn husk, a bear on a dish, a man playing a fiddle for his dog, a cat with her kitten and an outhouse. And how many bears could they find, or how many dogs? We never really knew the answer to this, since students found more bears and more dogs than the staff did when they made up the questionnaire.
It was an . . . adventurous hour . . .for all of us. Their desire to learn, to listen, and to focus was incredible. We greatly enjoyed the pleasure of meeting these enthusiastic and brilliant young Buncombe County residents.
Photographs taken by N.C. Room librarian Lyme Kedic. Post by N.C. Room librarian Zoe Rhine.