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Rose Hill Manor an area 'gem'

Teaching Your Child

Teaching Your Child

May 01, 2009|By LISA TEDRICK PREJEAN

"Wouldn't you be frightened if you opened a door and found yourself a few inches away from falling into a cold, deep pit?"

Certainly, I thought, as I nodded at my daughter's question.

I had asked her what she wrote to describe her class field trip to Rose Hill Manor, the Frederick, Md., home of Thomas Johnson, Maryland's first elected governor.

She responded in kind with a question of her own. She was interested in the kitchen's cooking fireplace and food preparation in general during the late 1700s, when the manor house was built for Johnson's daughter Ann Jennings (Johnson) Grahame and her husband, John Colin Grahame.

Part of my daughter's focus was on the ice house. Her perspective of that building was slightly different from mine. Because I was a parent chaperone that day, I had the privilege of learning alongside my daughter and her friends.

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As we toured the outbuildings, my daughter obviously was thinking about the danger of lowering huge blocks of ice into a pit. Ice was cut from local waterways during the winter, then transported in wagons to be stored close to the manor houses. One person was assigned the task of climbing down a ladder, standing in the ice house's dark pit, retrieving the ice blocks and then stacking them on top of each other.

As I listened to our tour guide, my only thought was gratitude. We certainly take our in-house "ice boxes" for granted nowadays, don't we? How often during this unseasonably warm week have we reached for cold drinks? We certainly don't have to work too hard for that refreshment. What a contrast to life at the turn of the nineteenth century.

The children in our group were captivated by the tales of the work that needed to be done on a daily basis to run a large household. My daughter hasn't complained this week about her chore of emptying the dishwasher each night. At least she didn't have to walk to a stream to fetch water for dinner.

Rose Hill Manor, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was developed into a children's museum in the 1970s. The manor playroom is a delightful area where children can play with replicas of period toys and dress up in costumes of the era.

On the manor grounds, children can tour a blacksmith shop, log cabin and carriage museum. The carriage museum, which was established in 1976, displays more than 20 restored carriages and sleighs.

If you haven't been to Rose Hill, it is worth the drive to our neighboring county. There are numerous "backyard gems" in the Tri-State area. This is one you don't want to miss, particularly if you have children 12 and younger.

o The Children's Museum of Rose Hill Manor Park is at 1611 N. Market St. in Frederick, Md., and is open daily from April through October. The hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. The cost is $5 for adults, $4 for ages 3 to 17 and for seniors, and free for children younger than 3. For more information, call 301-600-1646 or go to www.rosehillmuseum.com.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at lisap@herald-mail.com.

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