Hands-on learning

Hands-on History presenter Kurt Griesemer holds the attention of summer reading program students in De Soto using photos and artifacts to make Wisconsin's early history come alive.

Summer reading program students from the De Soto Public Library were able to touch, handle, play with and even wear some of the marvelous collection of artifacts the Wisconsin Historical Society brought to town on Wednesday, June 26.

The artifacts were part of an informative and interactive presentation sponsored by the library and funded by a grant from the De Soto Area School District. The history of Wisconsin from the end of the last Ice Age to the height of the Fur Trade Era was the focus of the hour-long program presented by Kurt Griesemer, coordinator of Primary Education at the Society. Students were able to interact with artifacts as diverse as mammoth teeth, early farming tools and a real beaver hat. Twenty-four students from Prairie View Elementary were able to attend the session, held at the De Soto Community Center.

Hands-On History brings research-based, best practice, museum education into the classroom. Their onsite 1-hour sessions are designed to engage the minds and excite the imaginations of young history explorers. The sessions are designed to enhance classroom study of Wisconsin’s past in meaningful, measurable ways.

The summer reading program is an annual feature of the library. The theme for this year’s program is “A Universe of Stories.” Previous week’s activities have been devoted connecting Wisconsin and De Soto’s history to a study of French explorers and customs and a dive into the lives of Norwegian immigrants, where students were able to try their hands at rosemaling designs and enjoy a snack of lefse, butter and sugar. Upcoming programs include “Driftless in De Soto” on July 24 and an end of summer “Scavenger Hunt in the Park” on July 31. Programs are open to children in the area who will be entering grades K-5.

The De Soto Public Library is located at 111 S. Houghton St. in De Soto. The library is open four days a week: Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, 3-8 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 608-634-6245.

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