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Historical society program shows impact of U.S. history on life in Carroll County

When studying United States history, did you ever wonder about the impact it had on your own area? Teachers on the Historical Society of Carroll County’s Education Committee set out to answer that question by creating a six-part Traveling Trunk Program specific to Carroll County. It covers Native Americans, Early Settlements, Industrialism, the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. Each trunk contains reproductions and real artifacts along with explanations and a variety of lesson ideas, plus experiences of Carroll Countians from long ago. The material matches current Maryland State Standards for Social Studies. The trunks are available for rent by teachers, Scout leaders or any children’s organization.

A photo of the World War II Trunk shows food, a canteen, V-mail (approved correspondence), a ration book, military equipment and clothing, and more. Credit: Historical Society of Carroll County.
A photo of the World War II Trunk shows food, a canteen, V-mail (approved correspondence), a ration book, military equipment and clothing, and more. Credit: Historical Society of Carroll County. (Historical Society of Carroll County)

The Native American Trunk focuses on the Susquehannock tribe. This trunk offers elementary students, Cub Scouts, Brownies, and Juniors an opportunity to handle authentic stone tools. Children will learn about Native American culture, where archaeologists found artifacts locally, and how some ancient Native American trails became Carroll County roads.

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The Early Settlements Trunk explores the history of Carroll County’s earliest settlers through artifacts students can handle and multiple activities relating to the development of settlements and towns, as well as stories of immigration. There is also an interactive settlement map. This trunk is designed for elementary students, Cub Scouts, Brownies, and Juniors.

The Industrialism Trunk is an experiential activity kit. It allows students to use primary and secondary sources to explore artifacts, photographs, and advertisements related to the growth of industries in 19th century Carroll County and how they reflected what was happening across the nation. Contents of this trunk are geared toward secondary school students, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts.

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The Civil War Trunk allows students to experience the Civil War through the lives of two Carroll County men: a Union infantry sergeant and a private in the Confederate cavalry. The kit includes reproduction clothing and equipment; photographs and biographies of Carroll County men who served on both sides; examples of Civil War currency; a vocabulary list; bibliography; and stories told by local residents who experienced the war. Contents of this trunk are for secondary school students, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts.

The Word War I Trunk includes a variety of posters from a Smithsonian exhibit, “World War I: Lessons and Legacies,” aimed toward middle and high school students. Also included are artifacts from the historical society’s collection — photographs, documents, and articles highlighting the participation of local men and women in “The War to End All Wars.”

The World War II Trunk allows secondary school students to examine the gear of a U.S. Army soldier. Included are documents, articles, and photographs that show how Carroll County families were affected by and participated in the war effort. This trunk helps explain the experiences of a student’s own grandparents or great-grand-parents who lived during the war years.

This World War II poster urges a soldier’s wife to “get a war job” as she holds a V-mail message from him. Credit: U.S. National Archives.
This World War II poster urges a soldier’s wife to “get a war job” as she holds a V-mail message from him. Credit: U.S. National Archives. (Historical Society of Carroll County)

For further information, visit the website of the Historical Society of Carroll County, www.hsccmd.org, and follow the Education link to Teacher and Student Resources. There are two rental options for the trunks. Option 1: A historical society docent can come to your class or group and present the material. The docent can present multiple sessions during the school day to a maximum of 25 to 30 students per session. Each session costs $30. Option 2: A teacher or Scout leader can rent a trunk for one week for a cost of $30. Trunks can be picked up at the HSCC at 210 E. Main St., Westminster. Delivery can also be arranged for a small fee. Please contact the historical society at 410-848-6494, ext. 200, or email education@hsccmd.org if you have any questions or would like to rent a trunk.

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Guest columnist Austin Hewitt is a docent and library research volunteer at the Historical Society of Carroll County.

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