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Early Guilford Day

at the Griswold and Hyland Houses

 Guilford, Connecticut

Early Guilford Days are:  

               - living history experiences for Guilford’s 4th Grade Students

               - a culmination of a year long series of activities related to life in Early Guilford

               - a community/school project


Early Guilford Days Fall Activities


The Early Guilford Days program organized by the Dorothy Whitfield Historic Society (Hyland House) and the Guilford Keeping Society (Griswold House) that culminates in May, with four days of workshops at the Griswold House and the Hyland House, really begins in the fall. Tassy’s trunk of colonial artifacts, named for Tassy Walden, former Cox School librarian, begins its yearlong journey through Guilford’s four elementary schools. Pat Lovelace and Hope Ryan, (both retired Guilford fourth grade teachers) present the trunk to the students and explain the artifacts and items in the trunk. Each school keeps the trunk for six weeks. During that time the students do hands on activities with the items in the trunk. Instructions for the items and worksheets that the teachers can use accompany the trunk. Some of the items in the trunk include: quill pens and powdered ink, inkwell, Boot Jack, berry basket, carders for wool, wool, drop spindles (for spinning the wool) small weaving looms, games - such as pick-up sticks, clay marbles, ball and cup, nine pins, dominoes, etc., sewing kit, slate, slate pencils, knitting needles, yarn and crochet hook, mortar and pestle, knot tying kit and various artifacts. The original trunk, made by retired Guilford custodian Harry Martindale, has been outgrown! Two plastic boxes containing the games and sewing, weaving and knitting items, now accompany it.


The fourth graders also visit the Hyland House, Griswold House or the Medad Stone Tavern for a Scavenger Hunt for items used in the house. Each student has a booklet of riddles and must locate the item described and write its name on the appropriate lines. At the end the numbered letters in the answers spell the architectural style of the museum. For example:


When you work on a farm

Muddy shoes are not rare.

Use me before you come in

And you’ll have stocking feet, or maybe bare.


         What am I?


___  ___  ___  ___       ___  ___  ___  ___


(Boot Jack)


The students thoroughly enjoy these activities that give them a taste of what life was like in Early Guilford!

Early Guilford Days consist of a series of workshops held during the day at the Griswold and Hyland Houses. A year long experience with enrichment units called Early Guilford Days prepares students for this experience. Post-visit activities provide students the opportunity to pull together, analyze and evaluate their experiences.


Each teacher receives an Early Guilford Days Teacher’s Guide. This guide was originally created and published in 1995 through a grant from the Connecticut Humanities Council. It was revised in 2005 by teachers from the four elementary schools and representatives of the Guilford Keeping Society, The Dorothy Whitfield Historic Society and the Guilford Preservation Alliance, as well as several retired Guilford teachers. The Guilford Preservation Alliance generously funded the reproduction of the revised guide.

The Guilford Free Library received a state grant in 2005 to fund the purchase of books to be used by students in their study of life in Early Guilford.




Funding:  Funding for Early Guilford Days comes from a variety of sources:

   - PTO contributions (monetary and/or supplies)

   - Parent donations (e.g. parents doing workshops often donate materials, although parents should be                      informed they can be reimbursed and must keep track of expenses.

   - Classroom parents donate needed items: baked goods and/or workshop supplies

   - Historical societies (e. g. salaries of their staff, materials for workshops offered by staff members)

   - Community volunteers often donate their materials

   - Grants from the Guilford Preservation Alliance

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