Wednesday morning, the Barton County Historical Society Museum was closed to the public as staff and volunteers welcomed third grade students to Pioneer Day. Held the first Wednesday of May each year, the event has become a long-standing tradition with Great Bend’s Unified School District 428.
Students began arriving between 8:30 and 9 a.m. Groups were assigned and each began at a different station scattered throughout the museum grounds and inside the museum. Volunteers, some in costume, provided interpretation.
Students learned about the history and pre-history of Barton County and Great Bend as they moved through the one-room school house, the train depot, the Lutheran church building, the Dodge House and the transportation and tool barns. They took part in low-tech games outdoors, including tug-of-war and gunny sack races.
Inside, Great Bend Public Library staff were on hand to share the story of quilting, and to lead a quilt-making craft and a tin-punch craft. They were also encouraged to consider what various artifacts in the museum’s collection were used for in the every day lives of people who lived in this area long ago.
Students enjoyed a sack lunch on the lawn of the museum grounds, and boarded buses mid-afternoon for the trip back to their schools.