Museum to Offer Day Camp

Old Independence Regional Museum is excited to announce plans for Day Camp. This fun and educational camp will explore life during the Great Depression and the World War II home front. “Through hands-on activities, games, and demonstrations we hope to give campers an experience that will help them better understand the hardships and triumphs of life during these times,” states Amanda Nikkel, museum educator.

This camp is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders and will be Tuesday, July 22 – Friday, July 25, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day. The cost is $40 per camper, and the museum requires at least 10 children to sign up in order to hold the camp. Class size is limited to the first 30 registrants. Campers should bring a sack lunch each day. A historic snack will be provided by the museum. Contact April White or Amanda Nikkel at 793-2121 to register. The deadline to register is Wednesday, July 14, 2014.

Based on letters by Pearl Taylor, to a local family from the 1930s, campers will be visited by a living history character, in period dress, portrayed by museum volunteer Beverly Grigsby. She will be interpreting Mrs. Taylor’s experience during the Great Depression. In the following excerpt, Mrs. Taylor tries to offer comfort to her Batesville family members about their situation:
“Honey don’t weary any about us for I am sure we want starve and we’ll have something to be thankful for when summer does come that we lived thru one of the greatest panics thats ever been known.”

“Making do” was a concept well known to folks living during the Great Depression and World War II. Campers will discover what families did when food and other daily needs were in short supply. Gardens, during both eras, were a way families were able to take some stress off of the pocket book and the ration book. Campers will learn about victory gardens and will plant a small garden to take home and tend themselves. In addition, each day campers will be able to taste foods from either the Great Depression or World War II during snack time.

Throughout the week campers will learn about various codes that were used by both allied and axis forces during WWII. Understanding Axis secret messages helped the Allies win the war; however, the United States had trouble keeping its messages secret until it began using Navajo and Comanche “code talkers.” They created radio codes based on their descriptive native languages. The Navajo code talkers were very effective because very few people outside of the Navajo spoke the language. Navajo is a pictorial language; there is no written form of the language. Campers will be able to hear a recording of Navajo words and their meanings. They will also learn a little about how the Navajo code talkers constructed these codes, and then they will be able to try their tongues at several phrases.

Other activities will include: rationing, mural painting based on the Federal Art Project of the 1930s, silly putty making, airplane spotting, and paper crane folding.

Old Independence serves a 12-county area: Baxter, Cleburne, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Marion, Poinsett, Sharp, Stone, White, and Woodruff. Parts of these present-day counties comprised the original Independence County in 1820s Arkansas territory.

The museum is located at 380 South 9th street, between Boswell and Vine Streets in Batesville.