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
3636 Georgia Hwy 11
Monroe, Georgia 30656
The William Harris Homestead offers a renowned 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 constructed shortly after Walton County was formed in 1818 from the sale of land from the Creek Indian Nation to the state of Georgia. The William Harris Homestead was farmed by the Harris family throughout the nineteenth century. And so, the restored log house and outbuildings that comprise the William Harris Homestead are uniquely situated to describe the different transition periods of the nineteenth century, using the history of the Harris family as a lens through which to “tell the tale.”
The “A Day in the 19th Century” field trip program begins at 10:00 a.m. and takes approximately two hours to complete. The program is divided into four units while the students are divided into four groups. Each unit is approximately thirty minutes and each group will visit each unit. After the field trip, school groups usually enjoy a picnic lunch on the grounds before returning to school.
The first unit is the nineteenth century log house. During this unit our Field Trip Educator discusses log house construction and gives an overview of the nineteenth century’s transition periods: from early settlement; before, during, and after the Civil War; and Reconstruction. Because so many Georgians during the nineteenth century were farmers, and cotton was the main cash crop, the Field Trip Educator will focus on cotton production and the making of cotton cloth. The remainder of this unit is spent demonstrating the different steps in preparing cotton fiber for cloth – carding, spinning, dyeing, weaving, and sewing. Lastly, because growing vegetables and providing meat took up much of the Harris’ time in the nineteenth century, food production and preparation are also discussed and demonstrated at the hearth in the dining area of the log house.
The second unit begins outside at the cellar door of the log house. Here, the Field Trip Educator takes the students inside to see one of the most interesting parts of the house, discussing its role in food preservation. Next, the students move outside and are shown the herb garden, where they learn about medicine. The students also see the smokehouse and learn about meat preparation and preservation, observe candle-making, and go to the Harris family cemetery to see where many generations of Harris family members are buried.
The third unit of the field trip features a Civil War interpreter who teaches the students about the daily life of both Confederate and Union soldiers during the 1860s. He teaches the students about clothing, the contents of a rucksack, foodstuffs available to the soldiers, and what living conditions might have been like. At the end of the program, he will usually demonstrate loading and firing a musket-rifle to the students.
In the fourth unit the students tour the Artifact Museum and learn from the Field Trip Educator about the Muskogee Creek who mostly lived here prior to 1818. The students then visit the William Harris Homestead smithy and learn about the importance of blacksmithing from our resident blacksmith. The fourth unit also gives students an opportunity to learn about water and water accessibility in the nineteenth century when they visit the spring. Finally, this unit is wrapped up with a hayride down to the Apalachee River.
The students are outside for most of the day, so the field trip program is weather permitting. Students, teachers, and chaperones enjoy this immersive learning experience because they are mostly out-of-doors and changing venues and subject matter every thirty minutes. The material taught in “A Day in the 19th Century” aligns with the current standards for Social Studies and Georgia History taught in public and private elementary and middle schools throughout Georgia.
The William Harris Homestead can accommodate a maximum of 120 people per day during field trips. The cost is $10.00 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 “A Day in the 19th Century” 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 scholarship.