YORK - Old York Historical Society kicks off a new season of its popular children’s summer program. Stories in the Old Schoolhouse, held weekly on Tuesday mornings through Aug. 27, brings curious young minds together for an hour in Old York’s historic York Corner Schoolhouse on Lindsay Road, for the reading of a story book, followed by a related hands-on activity, and fun and games in the school yard. The program features stories that bring history alive, and teach children about life in Maine, New England, and beyond.
The second season features such classic tales as Barbara Cooney’s "Miss Rumphius," and Margaret Wise Brown’s "Little Scarecrow Boy," as well as new favorites such as "I Am Birch" by Maine-based artist Scott Kelley, and "The Circus Ship" by Chris Van Dusen.
Kathleen Shea, Old York’s education director since 2017, and coordinator of Stories in the Old Schoolhouse, says “The tradition of storytelling in the state of Maine is so rich and varied, and I hope that the tales we share will inspire in children a love of history and an awareness of New England’s rich heritage.” Shea has assembled a diverse selection of books and plans to bring in a variety of special guests to talk to the young visitors. Hands-on activities include textile weaving and dessert making. Children will also spend time in the museum buildings and galleries, learning about how collections objects relate to the stories they have just heard. “The goal is to keep the kids engaged and interested in the activity of storytelling,” says Shea.
The program is open to the public, and Old York’s executive director Joel Lefever says, “Thanks to a generous grant from Kennebunk Savings, we are able to offer this program for free. We hope that both locals and visitors to York will come spend quality time in the old schoolhouse with their children. The stories we share with our kids have the potential open up new worlds and expand their thinking. And perhaps spark some young interest in Maine’s unique history.”
Upcoming July story hours include:
July 9: "Charlie Needs a Cloak," by Tomie De Paola (author and illustrator) Charlie is a shepherd and he really needs a new cloak. So after our story we will help Charlie comb and card the wool, spin it into yarn, and then visit our historic loom to see how it is woven into cloth.
July 16: "Journey Cake Ho!" by Ruth Sawyer (author), and Robert McCloskey (illustrator) This great old folktale tells the adventures of Johnny the bound out boy who lives on the top of Tip Top Mountain with Merry, and her husband Old Man Grumble. When hard times come to them, Johnny and his Journey Cake save the day. We will make some journey cakes of our own in historic Jefferds Tavern following the story.
July 23: "Cocoa Ice," by Diana Appelbaum (author) and Holly Meade (illustrator) In the late 1800s, Maine schooners sailed south with their holds filled with blocks of ice cut from frozen ponds, to trade for cocoa and coffee beans. This story follows a girl in Santo Domingo harvesting cocoa, and her counterpart in Maine harvesting ice. Afterwards we will learn about cocoa and taste some chocolate.
July 30: "The Circus Ship," by Chris Van Dusen (author and illustrator) This rollicking story is very loosely based on the true story of the Royal Tar, a ship full of circus animals that sank near the coast of Vinalhaven in 1836. Children will love helping to find the lost circus animals after the story.
The story hour is held every Tuesday at 10:30 am, now through August 27, in the York Corner Schoolhouse at 3 Lindsay Road, York, Maine, 03909. The program is open to the public, and children may attend any or all of the sessions. Recommended for children ages 4 to 10. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Admission is free.
For more information and a full list of titles, visit oldyork.org, or contact Kathleen Shea at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 207-363-4974.
History of the York Corner Schoolhouse
York is home to one of the earliest surviving 18th-century schoolhouses in New England. Built in 1745 at York Corner near Route 1 (about one mile from its current location), it was used for more than a hundred years. The schoolhouse was moved to the current site at 3 Lindsay Road in the 1930s to become part of Old York. Today it is used for educational programs.
Old York is southern Maine’s largest collection of historic properties, buildings and objects. The organization maintains 16 buildings and 20 properties in York, and houses some 20,000 objects and 50,000 archival items. Special exhibitions and programs are offered throughout the year. Old York receives no federal, state, or municipal funding, relying solely on the support of the community—individuals, businesses, and foundations—to help fulfill its mission as an enriching cultural center and regional resource. All of the proceeds from this event will benefit Old York.
Old York is open to the public for its 2019 summer season Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Monday. For more information please visit oldyork.org.