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Taylorsville Heritage Museum Helps Children Learn About The Past

Jul 03, 2015 04:16PM ● Published by Jessica Thompson

Students are given a hands-on experience at the museum. In the Plymouth Schoolhouse children have a chance to practice their penmanship on the blackboard. Photo by Jessica Thompson

Taylorsville - Have you ever thought what items in your house could be considered an ancient artifact to your children? What about your very first MP3 player or your camera that used rolls of film?  

Connie Taney, historic preservation committee chair, said, “Someday you are going to be standing here in this museum and my iPhone is going to be on display! It’s a little mind blowing to think we live in a world where the first smart phone belongs in a museum.” 

In May, Taylorsville Heritage Museum gave tours to nearly 1,200 Taylorsville elementary schoolchildren. Taney enjoys showing the children the museum. “The children are so cute because they just eat up everything you say. They just have thirst to learn of how (life) used to be,” she said.

While Taney gives the children a tour of the museum, they are full of questions. One artifact that produces many questions is the wooden rocking chair with a hole cut out of the seat’s bottom with a metal bowl slid under the hole—a chamber pot. “I tell the kids about how my grandpa needed to make a decision to use this chamber pot or to run out to the outhouse. The kids have so many questions. Where’s the flush? No flush. Where’s the privacy? No privacy. It’s just how it was. The kids really get a kick out of this,” she said. 

While some objects on display are foreign to the children, some artifacts are familiar because of popular movies the children have seen. When Taney shows them corsets women wore, the children remember the corset Elizabeth Swann wore in “Pirates of the Caribbean.” When the children notice there is no refrigerator in the kitchen, Taney tells them about the ice box, which reminds many about Kristoff’s profession from the movie “Frozen.” “It is so fun for me to see the light switch turn on within the children, one of those ah-ha moments,” said Taney. 

One thing that makes Taylorsville Heritage Museum child-friendly is that the tour guides let the children touch some of the artifacts. “This is a hands-on museum. This is not a ‘do not touch museum’,” said Taney. One popular hands-on area is the Plymouth Schoolhouse. Taney teaches the children about pens and ink and how it would take the children an entire day to write one paper for school. After this Taney lets the children practice their own penmanship on a giant blackboard. Once the tour of the schoolhouse is over the children dress up in clothing popular during the school’s time. The girls wear bonnets and carry baskets while the boys wear caps and carry buckets. The children then stand in front of the schoolhouse for a picture. 

Taney’s favorite artifact is the square grand piano that was donated by LDS apostle Elder Bennion’s family. Bennion grew up in Taylorsville and taught piano lessons on that grand piano.  The museum hosts children’s piano recitals where the children play on the grand piano while the audience watches in the house’s parlor. “I’m a musician, so I love teaching the children about how the piano and pipe organ work,” said Taney.    

The Taylorsville Heritage Museum gives children a learning opportunity on how hard people had to work at what are now simple tasks such as doing laundry, making dinner or hand turning the Victrola to make music. “Sometimes after the student’s field trip the kids will come back for a private tour with their parents,” said Taney. “They want to show off everything they learned.” 

To visit the Taylorsville Heritage Museum go to www.taylorsvilleut.gov/visitors.heritagecenter.html for museum hours and how to set up a private tour.      
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