A new exhibit called History of a North Country Childhood is now open to the public at the North Country Children’s Museum. This project is a collaboration between the museum, Clarkson University, SUNY Canton, and The Potsdam Public Museum.
Clarkson History Professor Laura Ettinger’s students collected oral histories from people 60 and over who grew up in the area. Their stories bring to life the work and play of childhood from an earlier time. Professor Laini Kavaloski from SUNY Canton and Professor Steven Pedersen from Clarkson’s Digital Arts & Sciences Program and their students created the audio and touch screen interactive. Director Mimi VanDeusen from the Potsdam Public Museum loaned historical artifacts for the displays. (VanDeusen retired November 30, 2020.)
NCCM Executive Director Sharon Vegh Williams says, “We wanted to share senior citizens’ memories and stories so that young visitors can learn from their experiences.”
The exhibit engages children ages twelve and under and their families in local history through an interactive, digital format. It tells stories of what daily life was like for children who grew up in the area in an earlier time.
Ettinger says, “I'm so pleased that my students' interviews are part of this exhibit, and that young museum goers can hear the voices of their elders. The exhibit is a fun and interesting way to learn about childhood in the past. Oral history interviews make history come alive for people of all ages.”
The exhibit was funded through the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Children’s Museum is located at 10 Raymond Street in Potsdam. The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit www.northcountrychildrensmuseum.org for more information.