The Doak House Museum hosted more than 620 elementary school students for its annual “Lessons From the Lawn” educational program on May 1.
Students from the Greene County, Jefferson County, Johnson City and Washington County school systems spent the day at the museum on the Tusculum College campus learning about many aspects of agrarian life.
The day began with the disking of the garden behind the Doak House by two Percheron work horses, Duke and Daisy. They were handled by Brett Sivert, a 2005 graduate of Tusculum College. The Doak House was the 19th century home of the Rev. Samuel Witherspoon Doak, co-founder of Tusculum College, and his family.
The youngsters then visited 23 learning stations on the grounds. At the stations, the students learned about beekeeping, raising sheep and goats, making candles and growing herbs.
The hands-on activities included planting corn and marigolds in the freshly plowed garden, making paper woven butterflies, storybook reading, spotted cow art, planting flowers to take home, cleaning and carding wool and decorating cookies.
The students also were told stories by professional storyteller Linda Poland and toured the springhouse on the grounds. In celebration of May Day, the students did a traditional dance around a May pole.
Among the organizations and individuals helping with the learning stations were the Hands On! Museum, Brett Sivert, Ed Bowman with sheep, Walter and Judy Shelton with goats, Eastside Garden Club, and Maria Jenkins of the Washington County Beekeepers Association. Helping the Museums of Tusculum College with the event were a number of volunteers. The museums also received the assistance of Fatz Cafe, Ingles, Sodexho, and faculty and staff from the Tusculum College Departments of Athletics, English and Science as well as the college’s Office of the Provost and the Center for Civic Advancement.
The Doak House Museum and the President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library are administered by the Tusculum College Department of Museum Program and Studies under the direction of George Collins, director of Museum Program and Studies, and Cindy Lucas, associate director of the department and director of the Doak House Museum. The department also offers one of the few undergraduate degree programs in museum studies in the country.
The Doak House Museum, the 19th century home of the Rev. Samuel Witherspoon Doak, co-founder of Tusculum College, hosted more than 10,000 school children from East Tennessee last year for a variety of educational programs related to the 19th century and CHARACTER COUNTS! The Andrew Johnson Museum, located in the oldest academic building on campus, houses a collection of books, papers and memorabilia of the 17th president of the United States. The museum also houses the Charles Coffin Collection from the original college library and the College archives containing documents related to the history of Tusculum. The museums are also two of the 10 structures on the Tusculum campus on the National Register of Historic Places.