I have been taking my 6-year-old daughter to History Camp this week, and she loves it. We are fortunate enough to live in town that is rich with examples of natural history and human history. Our unique situation on the river allows us to view the fossil rich limestone beds of the river and well-preserved examples of 19th Century architecture. Our unique history as a riverboat town that once boomed with excitement but now sleepily charms visitors, presents residents as wells as tourists with plenty to learn from.
Director of Education JoAnne Spiller understands the value of our location and opens up the Jefferson County Historical Society to kids each summer. Children ages 6 and up can spend two hours a day with JoAnne and her assistants, doing activities inspired by our fascinating past learning about early immigrants, and life forms that used to occupy the ground we walk on. On the first day of camp, my daughter went fossil hunting at the riverbank, just a short walk from the Society’s First Street location. After collecting specimens, the campers made their own plaster casts of common fossils such as horn coral. She is also weaving on her own scaled-down loom and tasting new foods.
Other activities lined up for the week include, making old-fashioned toys and games, churning ice cream and riding Madison’s own trolley. Although I think it was the promise of ice cream that convinced my daughter to sign up, she’s having a blast being outside, enjoying the treasures that make our town special.
– Angela Elles