STEUBENVILLE – As summer begins to melt away and the back-to-school holidays are written on planning calendars, the former Pleasant Hill School House Historical Museum is aptly reminiscent of what would have been a staple in the classroom. class a long time ago.
Complete School Boards, copyright date 1882, and McGuffey’s Reading Boards found a restored one-room school house at 3125 State Route 213 with the over 50 original pages stored in a new storage box for keep them safe.
But those reproduced and laminated – a twists and turns project that took about three years to complete – are prominently displayed, hanging from a stud in the original box that sits upright on an exhibit table in the museum’s classroom. . The front of the box is a slate painting.
Visitors who attend the remaining summer open houses in August and September and future events now have the opportunity to see, touch and appreciate learning materials from yesteryear.
Where they came from, however, remains a mystery, according to retired teacher Connie Crawford, who is the secretary of the museums association.
“We don’t know where it came from or who donated it. It has just been discovered “, Crawford said in a recent interview with the museum.
“They came like manna from heaven, that’s what Gloria said”, Crawford commented, referring to Gloria Renda, who is a member of the museum’s board and served for 11 years as the head of the museum’s restoration project which began in February 2008 when a group of interested people – including many retired teachers – began to discuss the preservation of the building. . The school was built in 1836 and was last used as a school in 1952.
The volunteers just noticed the box in early 2018, if not sooner, she speculated.
“He was sitting in the back corner of the museum. Right over there, “ Crawford points.
“We opened it up and said, ‘Oh my God,'” Crawford said of their reaction to seeing the teaching charts which included a set of “Complete school cards” by Ivison, Blakeman, Taylor and Co. of New York and Chicago.
Its Contents Index lists an introduction with pages for Phonetics, Calligraphy, Drawing, Arithmetic, Geography, United States History, and United States Civil Government, with the latter making up the Pages. XXIX – XXXII, Roman numerals for pages 29-32.
Cards are delivered with “general remarks,” describing their purpose and the best way to use them. These remarks from the 1800s read as follows:
“In preparing these tables, the editors had two things in mind: first, to provide assistance to teachers and textbooks in several subjects which are particularly in need of illustration in the classroom; and, second, to provide an overview of teaching in certain subjects which are not generally taught in our common schools.
“Every graphic is designed to be used. There is nothing just meant to show. Teachers should have well-prepared textbooks on each topic presented here. The more, the better. Students should also be taught not only to consult their own textbooks on these subjects, but also to read anything they can find relevant to the subject of study. It is hoped that these tables will prove to be an incentive and guide for further study and careful reading.
“It is suggested that in addition to the use of the chalkboards as part of regular classroom exercises, a set time of at least fifteen minutes per day be set aside for instruction on the chalkboards. This can be divided into two or more exercises and different branches should be covered every other day, so that each topic can be covered at least twice a week.
Restoring the maps was the first school of thought among museum volunteers.
“They were collapsing” Crawford spoke of their condition which would prevent them from being handled and viewed by visitors to the museum.
“They were fraying at the edges”, she said. It wouldn’t be a quick process to get them restored, as it would likely be expensive, but investigations have been made nonetheless.
Crawford said Renda visited a one-room school in Belmont County that had maps refurbished thanks to donations from several chapters of Questers, a nonprofit dedicated to the study, to the conservation and preservation of historical objects.
In April 2018, Crawford and Renda arranged to bring the cards in the box – about 50 pounds – to a conservation lab facility in Oberlin, Ohio. “Gloria and I took it in her car because it wouldn’t fit in mine,” Crawford said of their road trip with a goal.It’s a big place that does restorations, and we paid almost $ 300 to have them review it.
“They wanted between $ 10,000 and $ 15,000 to restore it”, she said. “We knew we couldn’t afford to do this.
Rather than unloading them – “They were heavy in this box, all these paintings”, Crawford said – the two took them to Nelson’s Fine Art and Gifts in the old Lincoln School building in Steubenville to pursue other possibilities.
This meant reproducing the pages and laminating them according to availability.
“Originally, we didn’t have the money to do the whole thing. We were just going to get a few pages and liked 20 pages, then they were ready to do the set, then COVID came along, so we waited because we didn’t even have visitors coming, ” Crawford said of the process.
The museum ended up getting COVID money through the CARES Act.
“Two weeks after they brought them to us, the building was flooded”,commented Madeline Stutzman, Head of Graphics at Nelson’s Fine Art and Gifts, the Nelson family business. Fortunately, they did not suffer significant water damage, and “Survived pretty well, so it was good”.
Stutzman explained his role in the process.
“I walked in and we photographed them all. The original cards were of two different sizes. There was a short series (McGuffey’s reading charts) and a long series, so I made them all the same size. We printed and laminated them and returned them. It was pretty much it. It took us a long time ”, she said of the three-year project.
She was assisted by her sister, Gemma Nelson, who did the rolling.
“By the time we’re all done, we’ve done 53 total, 53 charts. They are double sided in the original set but Connie and Gloria wanted them to be single ”, she said, estimating the dimensions of a page at 2 feet by 3 feet.
Another part of the project was to create a new box for the originals.
“We have created a new box for the originals so that they can hang duplicates in the original box and use them with the children” explained Stutzman, who commented on how unique it was.
“I have already archived and replicated things, but nothing so rare” she said. “It was quite an important and exciting project. If you go online looking for these, you can’t really find any. They are hard to find. It’s pretty cool that the Pleasant Hill School House has a full set. Compared to like everyone else, it’s pretty impressive.
“It was a really cool project to work on” she added. “You don’t get this every day.”
Crawford said a set of graphics comparable to those at the museum sells online for around $ 2,000.
The new addition was on display for the first time during the June installment of the Summer Open House series, but unfortunately there were no visitors. The open doors in August and September are the second Sunday of the month from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The museum welcomes members and donations, which are tax deductible. “All donations are used to help us keep doing renovations and keep the museum open to the public to share our story with the wider community.”
There are different levels of member support: student, $ 5; former students, $ 5; family, $ 10; friend, $ 20; principal, $ 50; superintendent, $ 100; and for life, $ 150. Checks can be made payable to the Pleasant Hill School House Historical Museum and mailed to Lara Finney, 151 Lovers Lane, Steubenville OH 43953.
The Museum’s Board of Trustees includes: Ryan Finney, President; John Finney, vice-president; Crawford, meeting secretary; Karen Lundquist, Corresponding Secretary; Lara Finney, Treasurer; and Board members Deborah Hendricks, Avis Henry, Kay Kempler, Kasey Kuntz, Dave Nicholson, Renda and Joyce Zimmerman.