By LINDA M. LINONIS
Red, white and blue dominated the color palette Wednesday during the Hands-On History open house at the Mahoning Valley Historical Society’s Arms Family Museum, 648 Wick Ave.
Behind the museum in a grassy area and under its porch, children made patriotic-themed windsocks and Popsicle flags.
Traci Manning, curator of education, sets a three-fold goal of the history programs: to have fun, to learn a bit and foster interest in youth to be “museum-goers.”
She said the programs, which began in June, are from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 14. They average about 60 participants from toddlers to teens; the four programs that have taken place so far have attracted about 220 people. Another bonus is that participants can come and go.
“Everyone seems to find something that interests them,” she said. The mix of participants includes families who patronize the museum, newcomers, children at the YWCA and others who read about it or stumble upon it. “Some families have made a regular Wednesday afternoon of it,” Manning said.
This week’s program, a prelude to the Fourth of July, focused on a patriotic theme. Along with the craft projects, children dressed up in colonial garb. They also played Preamble Scramble, which challenged them to put the phrases from the preamble to the Declaration of Independence in the correct order.
R.J. Markowitz, a graduate of Youngstown State University in middle-childhood education who is working on a master’s degree in student affairs, is in the Summer Honors Internship program. He is one of 14 interns at nonprofits and government agencies in the Valley.
Markowitz orchestrated the Hands-On History programs. He said many of the programs focus on the Valley connection. The July 17 session, “My Town, Your Town, Youngstown,” will highlight Harry Burt, confectioner. A June program on sports focused on boccie, a Valley favorite, and lacrosse, played by Native Americans.
The old-fashioned fun included the buzz-saw, Markowitz said, a hand-held game similar to a yo-yo. John Atticus “Jack” Limbian of Youngstown is a self- proclaimed expert at the game, after much practice.
The 61/2-year-old said he likes coming to the Hands-On History programs because they are fun, and he has learned to play lacrosse, among other things.
Jack arrived with his grandmother, Anita Limbian, who said her daughter, Leslie Limbian, had told her about the program. “It’s a nice activity, and it’s not all day,” she said, as she sat under a tree reading a book.
“This is a great way to touch base with history,” Leslie Limbian said.
Wednesday’s program also attracted the McCoy family, including mom, Shauna, and children, Daniel, 10; Angel, 7; and Owen, 4. McCoy said a friend told her about the program, and she checked it out. “The kids like history and enjoy crafts,” she said, adding, “They seem to learn better with hands-on.”
McCoy, who home schools, said the family would attend again. Daniel echoed that, noting he liked the activity.