Children can step back in time at Pry House event

July 15, 2012|By JAMIE LOBER | Special to The Herald-Mail
  • The Pry House Field Hospital at Antietam National Battlefield will host a Childrens Experience Weekend Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22.
Submitted photo

Children who have a love for history, fashion, adventure, competition or who simply enjoy learning new things, might find their niche at Children's Experience Weekend. 

The Pry Field Hospital at Antietam National Battlefield is hosting the two-day event from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22.

"It should interest everybody," said Thomas Frezza, superintendent at the Pry House Field Hospital. 

This event gives children a chance to discover what it was like to grow up in the 1860s in an interactive manner.

Children can get in tune with their crafty sides and learn how to be a good sportsmen, too.  

"We will be making clay marbles, so kids will learn how to shoot marbles and also play with tops," Frezza said. 

Chances are that no one has an unfair advantage because these games aren't found on a smartphone. 

"We play graces, which involve a hoop that flies through the air that you have to catch with two short little dowels or poles and toss it back to another person," he said. 

Dress is authentic. Children can see what people would have worn 150 years ago.

"Women wear multiple layers of cotton or linen and men have trousers, an undershirt and a jacket made out of wool or linen," Frezza said.

During the Children's Experience Weekend, children are reminded that they would have been farmers in the 1860s.

"Kids would help collecting things out of the garden and taking care of livestock," Frezza said. "They would start around 6 or 7 years old and work their way up from smaller to larger chores as they age." 

In addition to farm life, children can see what would have been happening at the Pry House during the Civil War.

"The museum is a field hospital museum, so it deals with the Civil War medicine at the Battle of Antietam, and there are two floors comprised of a lot of artifacts dealing with surgical kits and exhibits there," Frezza said. 

Boys and girls are usually equally intrigued. At the Pry House Field Museum, "It is an original 1840s structure,(and) when you walk in you see a bookshop and an operating room set up with different life-like mannequins," he said. 

Kids could easily spend an afternoon without yearning for their iPads.

"The barn that was used as a hospital is here and open to the public and we have a nice view of the battlefield," Frezza said. 

The Pry House has been well-preserved over the years, and the Children's Experience Weekend is one avenue to introduce your child to this slice of history.

"It is a good thing to come out and see what life was like for someone their age during a time of struggle for our country, and it brings that connection with history and the war home to them," Frezza said.

Children do not need to be history buffs to step back in time and get a little education.

"Learning history opens their minds to where we all came from and what our country had to go through to get to where we are today," Frezza said.

Frezza suggests families might want to arrive early to get the most out of their stay. 

"Most weekends, it is a popular place to visit, and with something like the Children's Experience Weekend going on, we think there will be a larger turnout than usual," he said.

If you go ...

What: Children's Experience Weekend

When: 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22

Where: Pry House Field Hospital, Antietam National Battlefield, 18906 Shepherdstown Pike, Sharpsburg.

Cost: Free

Contact: 301-416-2395

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