Historic preservation was front and center during the ArCH: Arts, Culture and Heritage—Preservation Field Days that took place between April 29 and May 15, 2019 on The Green in Dover, Del. As part of the program, several hundred fourth-grade students from across the state participated in hands-on activities that recognized and promoted historic preservation while also enhancing, celebrating and increasing awareness and appreciation of Delaware’s arts, culture and heritage resources.
Participating students rotated through a series of learning stations where they took part in 20-minute activities designed to meet Next Generation Science Standards as well as Common Core state standards for art and history. Participants received an ArCH-emblazoned backpack provided by Delaware State Parks, and, at the end of the event, were sworn in as junior preservationists and presented with a special badge.
Students visiting The Old State House station learned about milk paint, a water-based paint made from milk, lime and pigment that has been used for hundreds of years. Students visiting the Delaware State Historic Preservation Office’s stations explored a variety of archaeological artifacts dating from the pre-European-contact period to the present day.
According to Carlton Hall of the Preservation Office, students visiting his station analyzed a variety of artifacts in order to answer the critical-thinking question, “Why is preservation important to archaeology and chronology”? After being provided with descriptive information, students were divided into groups and asked to select artifacts such as Native-American arrowheads; metal “shutter dogs” which were used to hold window shutters open; and modern-day soda cans. They were then asked to place the artifact in the correct time period—arrowheads (early period), shutter dogs (middle period) and soda can (late period). Each group reported on their selected artifact describing what it was made of, who used it and the time period to which it belonged.
ArCH: Arts, Culture and Heritage—Preservation Field Days was organized by the First State Heritage Park and the First State National Historical Park in partnership with a wide variety of non-profit and government organizations including the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs. The project was the recipient of an “Every Kid in a Park” transportation grant from the National Park Foundation’s Open OutDoors for Kids program. The grant was used to defray bussing costs for students who would not otherwise be able to visit a national park.