Students are truly having a hands-on history class, touching the past – or at least, items from the past.
At Hamilton Middle School in Montana, seventh grade students in the Montana History class taught by Chad Williams got to handle authentic hunting and medicinal tools from the era of the American fur trade. “We talk about the early fur trade in Montana and how important it was to Montana history,” Williams said. “It was the first economic boom before gold, silver or copper.”
Williams’ class was visited by Albert Grobe, an experiential archaeologist who brought the items to class, allowing students to literally touch history.
According to Williams, students had fictitious ideas about the history of Montana’s early pioneers, due to the lore surrounding the stories of that era. He had the students research and write about prominent people of that era, and about the American fur trade.
“Then Grobe brings in his materials and we show them the truth,” William said. “We’re experiential archeologists and we use primary source evidence like journals, diaries and sketches. We take a look at pictures and recreate outfits and recreate the items that they used right down to hand sewing everything.”