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THE HEARTHSIDE NEWSLETTER

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Read the latest news about events and projects taking place at Hearthside
By Kathy Hartley 31 Aug, 2017
August 2017----The restoration of the Pullen Corner School House got a big boost with the award of a $10,000 grant from The Rhode Island Foundation last month. The grant was part of the Foundation's Community Grant program in which some 30 projects across the state were selected to receive $225,000. The largest grant amount was $10,000. The funds are earmarked for the finishing aspects to the restoration, including lighting, interpretative signage, stove, outdoor bell, school benches, and displays.

We were not only excited to learn of our successful grant application, but also delighted that our school house project was selected to be showcased among all the projects in a ceremony at Chase Farm Park announcing the grants. The event took place on July 12th. Kathy Hartley, president of Friends of Hearthside, stated “It was a wonderful opportunity to introduce our historic sites to officials from corners of Rhode Island. And needless to say, everyone was impressed with all that Great Road has to offer, and the recent developments to make it even more of a destination for enjoying and discovering history.”

The 1850 Pullen Corner Schoolhouse was moved to the town-owned Chase Farm Park in 2015. Funding was provided by the Lincoln Celebration Committee from the proceeds of sales of town ornaments over the past 20 years. Town residents also voted for expenditure of funds in the town budget to support the move and restoration.

The Friends of Hearthside has been overseeing the restoration of the historic building, and will be spearheading the programming to take place at the schoolhouse. The set up will not restrict its use as a classroom, as the intent is to have it be used for a variety of purposes, including cultural performances, art exhibits, civic meetings, as well as for tour groups and school field trips.

Also known as the “Hot Potato School”, the Pullen Schoolhouse joins the other historical buildings at Chase Farm Park which includes the Hannaway Blacksmith Shop and Moffett Mill. The Town of Lincoln is constructing a Visitor Center on site as well which will provide restroom facilities, a community room, and picnic table pavilion, making a full-day excursion to the park possible.

Expected completion of the schoolhouse and Visitor Center is Fall 2017.
For more information, contact John Scanlon at john.scanlon@hearthsidehouse.org.
By Kathy Hartley 31 Aug, 2017
August 23, 2017---The act of taking a pen and carefully crafting notes and letters is quickly disappearing from our culture. Taking its place are fingers flying across keyboards, and thumbs furiously pounding out abbreviated words and slang while texting. The alarming trend is one that has caught the attention of historians at Lincoln’s Hearthside House Museum.

“Simply put, if they can’t write, they can’t read it,” states Kathy Hartley, president of Friends of Hearthside, the all-volunteer organization that runs the museum. And so, starting this fall, classes in cursive writing will be offered by the organization. Nancy Poon, recently retired as a third-grade teacher from Northern Lincoln Elementary School, has recently joined the board of directors at Hearthside and is chairing the Educational Initiative, which will eventually include school tours and programs at the Pullen Corner School House at Chase Farm Park when it is fully restored. The class in cursive writing is the first program offering of this new initiative and will be held at Hearthside this fall.
The course is geared toward the 8-12 age group and will consist of one-hour classes held twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting October 3rd and running for 14 classes. The classes are being taught by elementary school teachers who volunteer at Hearthside. The cost is $15/week. Class size is limited to 8 students.

Cursive writing has virtually disappeared from the classroom. Increased testing, the implementation of Common Core State Standards and computers in the classroom take more time and resources. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia are using the Common Core’s English Language Arts standards and no longer require that cursive writing be taught. But some states have recently moved to make cursive mandatory, such as North Carolina. That state recently passed a “Back to Basics” law which mandated cursive (and multiplication tables) be taught. Other states include California, Idaho, Kansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina and
T ennessee.

The concern about the loss of cursive writing skills by Friends of Hearthside came about from the museum’s own youth docents. “It became apparent to us that these young people, who love history, were not able to read some of the historical letters in our collections,” states Hartley. “What really struck a chord with us though was when 15 year-old volunteer Tatum Pelletier commented that it saddened her not to be able to read the Declaration of Independence. Nothing underscored the loss of learning cursive writing more than that statement,” she added. “The ramifications of this are enormous, as all historical documents, whether of national importance or family memories, would be of no use if they can’t be read and will be in danger of being tossed out and history will be lost.”

With Hearthside’s mission focused on preserving history, not just historic buildings, it was a natural step to add cursive writing into their offerings of traditional skills that need to be saved. The organization has been offering instruction in hand forging at the Hannaway Blacksmith Shop for the past 14 years and recently announced the start of classes in the textile arts of spinning, hand weaving and embroidery.
There are added benefits to learning cursive writing besides being able to read historical documents. Just like art, hand writing activates areas of the brain that don’t get tapped with typing. Studies and research by Indiana University have found that writing by hand develops fine motor skills and improves literacy. Another study, conducted by the University of Washington, revealed that when elementary-school students composed essays on paper rather than on-screen, they wrote more and faster.

Elementary school teachers report that writing letters and words by hand reinforces reading skills and the sounds of the words in students' brains much more than just typing them. The brain retains more when writing, rather than typing. Take for example a stenographer who furiously types out words in court. Nothing is being retained as it is being typed.

Students who have cursive writing skills will be highly valued in the workplace, as well. Already, there are reports that they can earn extra money addressing wedding envelopes and reading primary sources written in cursive writing. Even at a tech company, a student who knows cursive writing earns $10 more an hour than his office mates because he can write legibly in cursive. He writes letters for his boss each day, all to higher ups in the company, or thank you notes or informal invitations.

Further, bank managers are reporting that young people coming in to open a bank account no longer have a signature. This has major implications for counterfeiting when everyone has a scribble or “x” on the signature line of a check.
To enroll in the class or for more information, contact Nancy Poon at education@hearthsidehouse.org or call Hearthside at 726-0597.
By Kathy Hartley 15 May, 2017
May 3, 2017—Lincoln’s Hearthside House and the Hannaway Blacksmith Shop has been recognized by Yankee Magazine Editor’s Choice Award for Best in New England 2017. The announcement was made in the May/June issue of the magazine in which state-by-state listings included best places to eat, where to stay, and what to do. Hearthside House and Hannaway Shop were listed in the “Best Historical Experience” in Rhode Island.

The publication’s review states: “The past is kept playfully, passionately alive in Lincoln at “the house that love built,” a stately fieldstone mansion where volunteers don period garb for themed events and tours. Down the street, observe artisans at work on weekends, or even preregister for a two-hour class. You’ll forge a hook to start, but by the time you begin a second project of your choice, you may find you’re hooked on this traditional art.”

Hearthside House opened to the public in 2001 when the Friends of Hearthside formed with a mission to preserve the 200-year-old home that is owned by the Town of Lincoln. Over the years, Hearthside has developed into a well-respected museum with a creative offering by its costumed interpreters of programs and tours to help bring history to life. The volunteer organization also runs the neighboring Hannaway Blacksmith Shop, also owned by the Town, where demonstrations and classes in hand forging are held every weekend in the original shop with a goal to preserve the traditional craft as well as the historic building.

“As a young, small museum run entirely by volunteers, it is an incredible honor to be recognized with such a significant award,” states Kathy Hartley, president and founder of the Friends of Hearthside. “It is testament to the dedication of so many who care deeply about our community and preserving our heritage for future generations.”

Yankee Magazine is read by 1.9 million readers nationwide. Based in Dublin, New Hampshire, Yankee is considered the iconic American magazine covering the finest that New England has to offer.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of its architectural significance, Hearthside was built in 1810 with lottery winnings to win the heart of a young lady. The house has had numerous owners over its lifetime until being purchased by the Town of Lincoln in 1996. Hearthside is located along Great Road, one of the country’s earliest roadways. Several historic sites remain intact in the area, making the Great Road Historic District a desirable destination for visitors and residents alike
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