What's in a Box?

Historic Arkansas Museum - Thursday, January 08, 2015

Hands-on History Coordinator Jamie Blakely (pictured below) recently asked herself a similar question when preparing three “loan boxes” for Arkansas schools.

The boxes are being made available to teachers to check out and use in their classrooms. Three boxes are set to go: Textiles, Lighting and Food Ways. Each offers hands-on learning and is adaptable to kids of all ages.

“The hardest thing was trying to decide what NOT to put in the box,” Blakely said. “There were so many great things we could have included.” The boxes are packed with things like cotton, a drop spindle and wool cards for the Textile Box and different types of candle holders and lamps in the Lighting Box. Along with the hands-on items, teachers are supplied with written materials about frontier life to help them develop their curriculum.

Opening the Food Ways Box is almost like visiting another country—the smell of cumin, clove, nutmeg and turmeric wafting freely from the spice tin. Also included are coffee beans, a sugar cone (the way pioneers kept sugar) and several different kinds of dishes: wooden, pewter, tin, horn and ceramic.

Other loan boxes are in development, including one that takes a look at slavery from a child’s perspective.