In an effort to bring the true story of spirit, purity of purpose and steadfastness of will of the Mayflower ancestors to today’s youth, each year the State Society completely funds classroom visits to elementary schools in the Commonwealth by museum instructors from the 1627 living history museum, Plimoth Plantation of Plymouth, Massachusetts. A number of schools have been selected for these visits in the Greater Erie, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh areas with approximately 15,000 third through sixth graders sharing in this experience in the past six years. Museum instructors in the persona of one of the 1627 residents of the Plymouth Colony visit the classes in authentic costume, speaking the 17th century dialect of the English shire from which they originated, and with the knowledge of only what has transpired up to 1627. Each teacher of the class to be visited determines whether the subject will be the trip over on the Mayflower or day to day life in the Plymouth Colony. High on the agenda of each program is a lesson in traditional English civility and the demonstration of proper respect to others.
The instructor will select a boy and girl to play his or her siblings and then choose another boy and girl to aid them in donning 17th century children's clothing. The second couple then play roles of the Pilgrim’s father and mother. Very quickly a family's typical day in the early settlement unfolds with morning chores followed by a breaking of the fast, planting corn, and a description of other duties. The effect of primogeniture on the siblings, the early settlement’s reliance on the native people for help, and the education of children in a school-less settlement are also discussed. Inner-city school children experiencing the visits have indicated that they can identify with the immigrant Mayflower passengers. Following the visits, the students often send letters, art work or poems to their Pilgrim. Often the same schools participate in the program annually.
What did the students think about their interactions with the Pilgrim interrupters? Read the student responses.
Constance Flynn Lagerman, 90, of Bryn Mawr, a former board member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Ardmore, died Saturday, Sept. 29, at her home.