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Hands-on History Lesson at the Cedar Springs Museum

Hands-on History Lesson at the Cedar Springs Museum
The wigwam set up at the CS Historical Museum is a look back at the native people who once inhabited our area. Photo by C. Patin 

by Cindy Patin

Have you been to the Cedar Springs Historical Museum lately? It is a wonderful local resource in our community for learning about our Cedar Springs history and passing on an appreciation of that history to the next generation. It is the perfect place to make a special trip with your children, grandchildren or nieces and nephews. Actually, you would enjoy going with anyone!!  School groups are encouraged to visit, as well, and would be a valuable field trip experience for any teacher looking for a budget-friendly option for their class. 

Photo by C. Patin 
Kids admiring a horse-drawn sleigh from bygone days in the Cedar Springs Historical Museum. 

Just before school began in September, I had the opportunity to take some of our nieces and nephews, ages 3-14, on a private tour through the Cedar Springs Museum, courtesy of one of their generous volunteers, Mr. D White. It was a fantastic opportunity for kids to engage with historical elements—farm and hand tools, kitchen implements, blacksmith equipment, printing presses, military items, uniforms, apparel, transportation devices, communication devices, Native American artifacts, etc.—not in use any longer, and to hear stories and explanations of their use. 

The younger ones were particularly interested in the full-scale wigwam, the typewriter, and the horse-drawn sleigh. The older ones appreciated their current high efficiency washer and dryer even more, and their own “chores around the house,” after seeing the “old model wash tubs and ringers.” (Dads and moms, if you want your kids to appreciate their chores, have them learn first-hand how chores use to be done! Hee, hee!) 

They also were really enthralled with Mr. White’s personal experience working for the US Postal Service on the railroad. You can even see a replica of the mailbag system that Mr. White used right inside the museum. I didn’t even truly understand, or appreciate, all the nuances of the mail process until hearing the first-hand account from Mr. White during our visit. It was very impressive! 

I’m so glad we were able to go. If you would like to schedule a personal tour for your family or for a class of students, please contact Mr. White directly at 616.835.0809. He is more than happy to share with all of you, as well.

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