St. Maries students spent a day learning about local history hands-on at the Hughes House Museum.

First-grade classes from Heyburn Elementary filed into the historic house May 29 and 30 for a day of learning and fun. Volunteers Priscilla Derry, Jeanne Johnson and Debby Blake escorted the students, ages five and six, through the house to show them historic displays.

Items seen on the trip included military memorabilia donated by St. Maries residents; a pipe organ once used to accompany silent movies in the town’s Bungalow Theater; photos and models of a steamboat that once made journeys to and from St. Maries; and a variety of appliances once used in everyday life. Volunteers took time to explain each display and its relevance to the town’s history.

The students also got first-hand experience with some of the displays, as volunteers guided students through the process of making tasty snacks the old-fashioned way with some of the donated kitchen appliances.

“As a hands-on treat, the kids were able to make popcorn the old-fashioned way, where they turned the handle on top of a hot kettle to keep the popcorn from burning, then ate it,” Ms. Blake said. “The next activity was making cinnamon toast with antique toasters; when one side is done, you pull the sides down again and flip the toast with your fingers, guessing which side is done. We had a little smoke with this activity.”

Curious students spent the day asking questions and learning about the history of each display. Volunteers said the field trip was a great success.

“All in all, it was a fun time,” Ms. Blake said. “We knew it was a success when one little boy said, ‘this is the best field trip ever!’”

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