Educational Offerings: Individuals, Public & Alternative Schools, & Homeschoolers Take Notice

Education is Our Priority

We are very excited about our newly designed workshops and activities for school children. We are particularly attentive to the unique educational learning objectives and goals of public and alternative schools as well as those that homeschool. Through the input of very talented craftspeople and educators, we have been able to compile new offerings for you in conjunction with a visit to either our Fields Pond (Orrington) location or our Newfield (formerly Willowbrook Museum) campus for your school field trip, after school class, or a weekend workshop. we offer workshops for adults and children in a variety of media always attentive to S.T.E.M. or S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics ) learning objectives in mind.

The museum strives to realize its huge potential to serve as an integral part of education in the region rather than merely a supplement to it. With today’s increased focus on web-based learning and virtual experiences, we seek to facilitate hands-on learning that engages all the senses while at the same time trying to utilize new media to tell stories about our nation’s rural heritage and the ordinary individuals in the 19th and early 20th centuries who embraced the science and technology of that era for their own livelihoods and self fulfillment.

We anticipate sharing Curran Homestead Village with you again or for the first time this season. Presently, we seek volunteers with a variety of experiences and knowledge to assist us in improving and developing more educational experiences. Please contact us if you wish to serve on our advisory committee and/or contribute your time, as we need you to continue to make the museum relevant to our children’s education.

Weekday and Weekend Workshops for Kids

We offer the following workshops and more for public school kids, youth groups, and homeschoolers alike. Contact us and arrange a program that includes these:

  • Fiber Arts Make a wooden frame and nail lamp loom that your complete the warp and weft of a wood yarn weave. Opportunities for lessons in natural dye selection on a nature walk as well as spinning yarn with a drop spindle constructed from found rocks and sticks.
  • Erector Set Fun Before mind craft or Legos there were erector sets; this involves actual planning/design, assemblage, and engineering using good old fashioned tools like screwdrivers and wrenches. Working with our collection of vintage 1940s, 1950s and 1960s erector sets you will build things like a working Ferris wheel, a car or a crane, among other projects. Fit your construction with a pulley and electric motor and bring your creation to life.
  • Make an Old School Electric Lamp Using materials like cloth covered wire, white porcelain insulators, and wood, you will make a lamp from scratch. This involves learning simple electrical wiring—knowledge that all of us should have a the foundation for a world filled with machines and equipment powered by electricity.
  • Make an Electronic Telegraph Sounder This is a marriage between old and new technology as the student will learn to solder a wire to a circuit board with this construction of an LED light, buzzer, wire and battery. The class will also involve using the sounder for an introduction to Morse code.
  • Make a Pinhole Camera The museum has a life size version of a pinhole camera that students will experience first hand. Crawling into it they will witness the natural phenomena of light transferring imagery as revealed by the camera obscura.
  • Letterpress Printing How easy it is to pick a font size or type style for word processing today. This class takes back to the beginning with setting actual lead type into a chase, inking it and printing on paper. Students will learn the foundation skills for creating their own business card and stationary. Follow-up classes for more involved printing projects are also available with our professional letterpress printer who still makes a living at this antiquated trade with results that are still preferred by many to that produced by means of digital printing. We will work with turn-of-the-19th century printing presses.
  • Woodworking: Mortise and Tenon Construction for Kids This type of construction dates to a time before metal nail fasteners when wooden pegs and fitted piece of woods were the only means of construction. Many barns and buildings stand to this day with mortise and tenon, timberframe construction including some the museum’s own buildings. Students will apply this same principle of joinery top the creation of a hand tool—a hack saw in the design of an antique bucksaw with wooden parts and a wire turnbuckle.
  • Woodworking: Make a Wooden Tool Box Working exclusively with hand tools students will saw, drill, and hammer together a dowel handle, wooden tool box for their own use.
  • Blacksmithing For Teens Learn to operate a coal-fired forge and to heat steel for the purpose of cutting and shaping it. Complete some simple projects during the course of this three hour class including a J and S Hook. Follow-up classes are possible with projects of greater challenge.
  • Apple Box Making and Stenciling Part of the history of the museum’s property in Newfield included box making. The mill at the end of the pond was once a shook mill, and “shooks” are the slates of wood that comprise the boxes used for apples and other fruit to this day. This box has finger joints and is easily assembled with hammer and nails. Students will use traditional brass stencils from our collection to label this take-away project.
  • Make Your Own Crystal Radio Set This was often a project completed in Boy or Girl Scouts in the past. Before the vacuum tube radios and long before transistors there were these very crude radios that were powered by a mineral occurring naturally. Students will create a receiver with a head set for picking up AM radio waves. The construction includes soldering and wiring.
  • Make a Catapult Students will assemble a nineteen piece wooden miniature of this war machine design by Leonardo Da Vinci. This post and beam construction involves fitting wooden pegs to fasten each piece together. This is a functional machine that will result in hours of play and foundational knowledge of wood construction, engineering and mechanics.
  • Pewter Casting for Kids This is our popular metal casting class brought to a manageable level for the young. Students will create their own pattern from a refractory clay. The pewter we use is devoid of lead. An electric furnace heats the metal in a crucible that is subsequently poured into the mold. Past projects included making your own unique ice cream spoon and then using it at the end of the exercise.