The Sassy Countess is a blog about historic houses, properties, castles, estates, mansions, homes, land, and lifestyles! Focusing mostly on 18th century, other time periods are also included, such as Regency, Golden Age, Gilded Age, Victorian, American Post and Antebellum, Romantic, Jacksonian, Medieval, Renaissance, Edwardian, New Republic, etc.
Historical Sites Can Be An Essential Part of Learning
Speer-Sims, Taylor September 11, 2011
Historical Sites Can be an Essential Part
There are many
reasons that endangered landmarks should be saved. A very good reason is for
learning. Not all people learn by sitting in the classroom or reading a book.
There are students who learn by looking at an object, some by physically
touching it, and others by listening (Conner, 38-55). When an interesting
person is going to an historic site there could be costumed interpreters,
performers that are working in period trades and also re-enactor groups that
will assist in the better understanding of a time period. Many locations are
not just houses or fields, but are learning centers in themselves that offer
archives, archaeological evidence, and anthropological and social backgrounds.
By bringing in teachers and their students to visit these locations they will
be able to assist in saving some of these endangered historical sites.
Teachers are always
looking for different ways to get their point across to their students. They
want their students to be involved and as excited as they are about their
studies (Kleppe). One way to help teachers of all age groups get their students
involved is to get them out of the classroom, and into a field trip. Breaking
up the monotony of the classroom could be a beneficial stimulus to the teacher,
and also the students. For the college student, he or she would be able to
access archives that many sites have, as well as use the location as a primary
source for research. This will also benefit the students who have differing
The three main styles
of learning are the kinesthetic, visual and audio learners. The visual learner
needs to look at something to get the most out of his or her experience.
Pictures do help, but looking at the actual object, be it a house or field
where a battle took place, helps the visual learner who needs to see it to
process the needed information. The height, depth, distance, etc. can be better
appreciated at the actual location. The kinesthetic learner “incorporates
information through touch and movement” (Conner 2004, 38-55) perhaps because
“the skin receives some of our most primitive aesthetic sensations” (Roach and
Eicher, 75). Visiting a historic site helps them to literally be able to touch
and walk through the environment. The audio learner has two separate styles,
the audio listener and the verbal processors. The audio listener student
process information by hearing, while the verbal processor student will process
by repeating what he or she heard. When a student visits a historic location he
or she will be able to listen to the tour guide and respond back with questions
that will generate a better learning environment (Conner, 38-55).
Not only does
visiting the location help with the different learning styles, it could also be
a fun learning environment. There are costumed interpreters that show the
student what the clothing was like during the presented time. Looking at a lady
in a hoop skirt with her hair in a net, or a man in a wig and knickers is fun
to see. There are many locations that have full time or event staff that will
perform trades in the exact manner that they were performed back in the day that
is being portrayed. Many people do not know how a candle, horseshoe, or even a
bullet was made, and they can see this at historic locations.
There are also
re-enactor groups that use these locations for their own purposes that could be
visited by student groups. Many are military re-enactors that “go charging
across” these sites with guns, cannon and yelling (O’Pry-Reynolds). These
“shows” include sight, sound, and touch that is absolutely necessary, but they
also include the smell and taste of the smoke that increases the observer’s
understanding. Being there and experiencing this type of event is not only
thrilling, but it is also hyper sensitive to the senses. If these sites were
gone, how could a student be able to visualize these occurrences correctly
Interpreting the past
is beneficial to many students, from elementary to university. When a college
student is in need of primary sources, he or she could be sent by the
instructor to visit an actual location where the study took place. Not only
could the building or grounds be used as a primary source, but many locations
have archival records that could be used also. Personal letters and artifacts
are stored at some historic landmarks (Schladweiler). There have been numerous
sites that have had archeological digs that have produced evidence that could
be used by the teacher, as well as the student.
social evidence could also be acknowledged by the location.Anthropologists encourages site visits to
students because it is easier “to understand something of the lifestyles of …
early native inhabitants” when the student is at the actual location (Renfrew
and Bahn, 17). “These [locations are] symbols [that] are enduring reminder[s]
of historic events that will last long after those who experienced [those]
events are gone” (Ballard-St. George).The student who has a professor who encourages him or her to actually
visit a site will find that the student would become more involved in the
subject matter being taught.
There are those that
will say that the visiting a historic landmark is not a necessity in the
learning process of a student. There are those that will say that having
teachers bring their students to historic landmarks will not save them from
demolition and/or encroachment of new construction. Both arguments could be
true. However, when a student visits the location where a special event took
place, his or her understanding and appreciation of the event, as well as the
landmark, increases. The more students that visit these places will help the
teacher teach, the student learn, and the landmark to have more people who care
about its welfare. The more people who care, the less likely a location will be
bring, or send, their students to historic landmarks will encourage the
salvation of these places. Students will learn through their senses of touch,
sight, sound, smell and taste. All types of learners will benefit from such
visitation of these landmarks. People in costume that talk about, and work on
time period trades interact with students to heighten their awareness.
Re-enactors give the student an environment to interact in. Archives,
archeological, anthropological and social evidence gives the higher-level
students primary sources for their research. When teachers realize the value of
a visit to a historic site, they will be able to show the worth and that saving
these historic locations is necessary to future generations.
written for class at American Military University.
George, Heidi. Personal interview. 11 September, 2011
Conner, Marcia. Learn More Now.
Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004. 38-55.
Personal interview. 8 September, 2011
Kay. Personal interview. 9 September, 2011
Renfrew, Colin & Paul Bahn. Archaeology
Essentials: Theories, Methods, and Practice.