Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
FAIRFIELD — The Carnegie Historical Museum in Fairfield hosted a program on Native American artifacts Friday afternoon.
The event was part of Visit Fairfield’s “Family Fun Road Trip” of outdoor events that lasted all week. Carnegie board members and volunteers had Native American artifacts on display that were intended to give children a window into the activities of a typical Native American village. This included making dolls from corn husks. Museum board member Therese Cummiskey led that program, where she walked children through the steps of making a doll from the corn husks and then dressing it with articles of clothing and a bonnet.
Other activities for kids included cracking hickory nuts with stones, grinding corn with stones into cornmeal, scraping hair off deer hide, and learning how Native Americans turned gourds into useful tools like mixing bowls and jugs.
Cummiskey said most of these activities were taken from programs she put on when she was Jefferson County Naturalist, so she had all the supplies.
“We liked it because it’s a little bit historical, and it’s something we can do with the museum that is very hands-on,” Cummiskey said.
Cummiskey said she hoped that the children who attended the event gained an appreciation for how resourceful Native Americans were.
“They used every bit of what they had,” she said. “With corn, they ate it, used the corn husks for dolls, and the corn tops for scrubbing pots, or making plugs.”
Nine-year-old Vera Smith of Fairfield said she enjoyed looking over the gourds and how the Native Americans made them into tools. She said her grandmother, Diana Fern, also grows gourds.
Smith explained that, after the gourds die in the fall, the family collects them, lets them dry, and turns them into bowls and cups that they use for snacks.
Cummiskey said gourds are also great for making birdhouses out of, and are often painted for art projects.
The next program at the Carnegie Historical Museum will be a class on basket making from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13. Cummiskey is putting on that program, too. There are still a few spots left before the class is full. To register, email email@example.com.
Call Andy Hallman at 641-575-0135 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org