The St. Johnsbury History and Heritage Center’s vision is to educate to instill a sense of one’s place. In order to understand the present, one needs to look back at our area’s “roots”. These “roots” are discovered in maps, writings, memoirs, pictures, monuments, and artifacts. Check out the educational programming available on-site at your school or at historic locations in St. Johnsbury.
All classes and field studies meet Vermont Standards and Grade Cluster Expectations for History and Social Studies.
4.5 Continuity and Change: Students understand continuity and change.
4.6 Understanding Place: Students demonstrate understanding of the relationship between their local environment and community heritage and how each shapes their lives.
6.4 Historical Connections: Students identify major historical eras and analyze periods of transition in various times in their local community, in Vermont, in the United States, and in various locations worldwide, to interpret the influence of the past on the present.
6.5 Traditional and Social Histories: Students investigate both the traditional and the social histories of the people, places, and cultures under study, including those of indigenous peoples.
6.6 Being A Historian: Students use historical methodology to make interpretations concerning history, change, and continuity.
Grade Level Stem 8: Students connect the past with the present.
Grade Level Stem 9: Students show understanding of how humans interpret history.
Grade Level Stem 10: Students show understanding of past, present and future time.
Grade Expectation Stems remain the same across the grades.
Ready To Learn?
For further information about classes and fees or to schedule a class, please contact Peggy Pearl at the St. Johnsbury History and Heritage Center at
(802) 424-1090, email Peggy, or use our contact form below.
MT. PLEASANT CEMETERY WALK – Visit the graves of former residents of St. Johnsbury – the founder; the blacksmith; the photographer; the spinning wheel maker; etc. This class will be looking at symbols and epitaphs on some of the grave stones as well as listening to their stories.
CIVIL WAR GHOST WALK (Mt. Pleasant Cemetery) – In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, this walk visits the graves of casualties and veterans of this conflict. The class also visits the grave of Erastus Fairbanks, governor of the state when the war began. Their intriguing stories will be revealed.
ST. JOHNSBURY WALKING TOUR OF MAIN STREET – This is a walk of the “Plain” looking at the architectural history and stories behind these buildings. The Main Street Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Walking along the 4000 foot length of the street one discovers five churches, St. Johnsbury Academy, St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, Fairbanks Museum, the courthouse, an armory, and many architecturally interesting homes in this tour.
ON SITE CLASSES
APPLES OF VERMONT (offered in the Fall) – Apples have been an important part of Vermont History since its first inhabitants. Early apple varieties, the art of grafting, various tools and gadgets for harvesting are all incorporated into this presentation. Present day facts about cultivation and the reasons for change will also be discussed.
STOVES TO SCALES (offered any time) - Learn the story of the Fairbanks Family and how their success enriched the St. Johnsbury community.
WHAT’S IT? (offered any time) – This presentation will keep you guessing! A variety of odd and unusual tools and gadgets of yesteryear will be displayed and their surprising purposes explained. Intriguing tools such as the spinning finger and the hay knife are just some examples from the class.
REMEMBERING (offered any time) – This program explores the “how and why” of remembering one’s family history through the observation of a variety of artifacts and pictures. Observations will be shared in order for one to understand one’s past and where they come from. This class will motivate students to do their own home search to reveal those objects that tell a piece of their family story.
COVERED BRIDGES (offered any time) – These structures stand as monuments to our history of transportation. The history of bridges and why some are covered are part of this program. Bridge trusses, early builders, and their tools will be presented. This class may also include a FIELD STUDY (offered in the Fall and Spring) to the covered bridges in the Lyndonville area. A Danville site is also available.
ORAL HISTORY PROJECTS
The St. Johnsbury History and Heritage Center is excited to work with St. Johnsbury Academy’s Freshman Humanities students. Here’s a listing of resources that we hope will help you get started.
Here are some websites that host questions for oral history interviews:
“Interview questions” About Writing good Questions – This is a bit dated, 1978, and speaks to tape recorders, but some questions are broken down into decades and would help you focus in on larger historical events to tap into local reactions.
Step by Step Guide to Oral History – This is a great resource with a case study, a discussion of the pros and cons of oral history, and a toolkit to guide you in the process. There are links to oral history organizations.
Create an Oral History from Grosse Point Historical Society – Scroll to the bottom of the page for examples of interview questions. These questions seem to pertain to living in a family, school, and local community.
PBS Youth Activity – How to do Oral History Projects – This page provides a good summary of the practice and etiquette of the oral interview process.
Below are some oral history podcasts. There are many on the web, we are keeping you focused on New England.
Book Resources (Consider checking Grace Stuart Orcutt Library, St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, and Lyndon State College. If you cannot find a copy locally, ask for inter-library loan.)
Vermonters: Oral Histories from Down Country to the Northeast Kingdom by Ron Strickland
The Last Yankees: Folkways in Eastern Vermont and the Border Country by Scott E. Hastings, Jr.
Visit’n Conversations with Vermonters collected by the Vermont Folklife Center Volume 3
Nearby History Exploring the Past Around You by David E. Kyvig and Myron A. Marty, specific to your project is chapter chapter 6 “Oral Documents.”