SCHOOL FIELD TRIPS
FIELD TRIP PROGRAM
The Field Trip Program is offered in the fall (September, October, and November) and the spring (March, April, and May).
For more information and scheduling, please contact:
The William Harris Homestead
Dotty Harris Zazworsky
3636 Georgia Hwy 11
Monroe, Georgia 30656
or Phone: 404-816-2943
The William Harris Homestead offers a Field Trip program, “A Day in the 19th Century”, for elementary and middle school students. This heritage education program can also be customized for older students and adults.
The William Harris Homestead (circa 1825) was built around the time Walton County was formed (1818) from the sale of land from the Creek Indian Nation to the state of Georgia. The Homestead was farmed by the Harris family throughout the 19th century. And so the restored Homestead is uniquely situated to describe the different transition periods of the 19th century, using the history of the Harris family to “tell the tale”.
The Field Trip program takes about 2 hours to complete, usually starting at 10:00 am. Afterwards, school groups usually enjoy a picnic lunch on the grounds before returning to school. The program is divided into four “units”. The students are also divided into four groups, rotating through the units, which last about 30 minutes each.
In the first unit the students go into the Harris family’s log house. The guide discusses log house construction, gives an overview of the 19th century’s transition periods, from early settlement; before, during, and after the Civil War; and Reconstruction. Since so many Georgians during the 19th century were farmers, and cotton was the main cash crop, the guide focuses on cotton production and the making of cotton cloth. She demonstrates the different steps in preparing cotton fiber for cloth-carding, spinning, dyeing, weaving, and sewing. Growing vegetables and providing meat took up much of the Harris’ time in the 19th century. Therefore, food production and preparation is discussed and demonstrated at the fireplace and dining area of the log house.
The second unit begins outside at the “cellar” door of the log house. The guide takes the students inside to see this interesting “room” of the house, talking about its usage for food preservation and cooling. She shows the “house garden”, describing herb and medicine usage, the “pharmacy” of a typical home then. The students see the smokehouse and learn about meat preservation, observe candle-making, and go to the Harris family cemetery to see where so many generations of Harris family members are buried.
The third unit features a local Civil War interpreter who teaches the students about the daily living of a soldier–what it would have been like to be a Confederate or Union soldier during the 1860’s. He talks about clothing, the contents of a rucksack, foodstuffs available to the soldiers, and living in a tent for months on end. At the end of the program, our interpreter will usually demonstrate loading and firing a musket-rifle to the students.
In the fourth unit the students tour the barn and walk to the “spring”, where the Harris’ got their water and washed their clothes during the 19th century. The guide tells the students about the Creek Indians, who fished and camped along the Apalachee River, before they sold a large tract of land to Georgia in 1818. The Apalachee River is the northern border of the William Harris Homestead. Then the students climb on the hay wagon for a ride down to the Apalachee River, enjoying the woods and imagining Indians behind every tree.
The students are outside for most of the day, so the Field Trip program is “weather permitting”. The students and teachers and chaperones enjoy this learning experience because they are out-of-doors most of the time, changing venues and subject matter every 30 minutes. The material taught in our “A Day in the 19thCentury” is very pertinent to the Social Studies and Georgia History curricula taught in the elementary and 8th grade in most Georgia public and private schools.
The program can accommodate about 100 students per day. The cost is $9.00 per student and per chaperone, and teachers are free. Through a one time 2005 Scholarship Grant by the Walton Foundation, there are some funds available to assist those students in Walton County who might need financial aid to attend the William Harris Homestead Field Trip Program.
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The William Harris Homestead Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to provide heritage, agricultural and environmental education.