By Patricia Turnour
To view the original article and others visit the Cottage Shack magazine.
For the last two years, the world has been anything but normal and it is unclear what the end normal will look like. Old, time-honoured traditions may take on new looks. CCHM board president Richard Jolliffe and I admit we are somewhat apprehensive about the future. How, after the pandemic, do we get back in step with out activities and events? Looking forward to the 2022 season is exciting, if somewhat daunting. Even so, we are going forth with an aggressive plan of action. Optimistically, our board of directors and committees are working with a variety of community partners and friends to put our plans in place.
Last summer, our programming was constrained by the government-mandated protocols of Covid 19 that were so stressful and time-consuming for everyone. All our regular events had to be put on hold due to gathering restrictions. CCHM was, however, able to open for precooked, small group tours.
Additionally, Linda Wilson, one of our directors, and I put our heads together to design and launch a new weekly event that would reach out to the local citizenry. Tuesday Community Fun Day emerged.
Linda has wonderful handiwork skills and I am a retired school teacher. The result of our collaboration was a day that encouraged adults to come and learn new skills. It was also advertised as a date to experience the museum to socialize, and demonstrate one’s handiwork. A group who shared ideas, patterns and technique soon evolved. Even my two co-op students mastered the skill of rug hooking. The gazebo provided an ideal setting for the group – a pot of tea completed the ambiance.
We hope to attract even more crafters in the coming season.
Because we wanted the day to have a family feel to it, parents and grandparents were encouraged to bring along youngsters to do crafts and to experience a “pioneer” school day. Although it started out slowly, very soon we were welcoming between 30 and 40 kids each Tuesday. Occasionally we found it difficult to accommodate everyone in the schoolhouse, so a “crafts” tent was erected where the co-op students taught the children a variety of crafts – corking, beadwork, paper bag puppets, whirligigs, butterflies and hand turbines to name a few. The children rotated among the different activity centres.
In the schoolhouse, groups under My tutelage experienced the routines of a “typical” pioneer school day. At recess they were introduced to old favourites such as Farmer in the Dell, Ring Around the Rosie, I Wrote a Letter to My Love and A Tisket (a) Tasket. Time was also spent singing songs and performing with puppets. The students practiced printing and cursive writing, read stories and studied the ABCs.
A quick trip around the museum sometimes attracts an audience watching my “pupils” walking in a line holding a long role.
The new playhouse is a favourite of the younger children. Whether playing with Lincoln logs, Lego, a tea set, stuffed animals or reading a storybook, a fun time was had by all.
Although some families came for a few hours only, many made a day of it. A welcome sight it was to see many people picnicking on the grounds. This summer, the picnic area will be expanded to accommodate additional tables currently under construction by the A-Team.
Thanks are due to “home schooling” groups that attended our Community Fun Days. Their positive feedback was encouraging. I hope to see all of these youngsters again this summer, and perhaps some new faces.
Stay tuned to our website as we begin to advertise this and other events and activities. The weekly Community Fun Days are being shifted to Thursdays (10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.), the first scheduled for July 7, 2022.
We hope to see you there!