Rowan Museum history camp teaches children about local history

Shavonne Potts/Salisbury Post Steve Martin of Rockwell, illustrates how a pole lathe would've been used to carve wood. Martin, a wood craftsman is dressed colonial working man's garb and volunteered during Rowan Museum's history camp.
Shavonne Potts/Salisbury Post Steve Martin of Rockwell, illustrates how a pole lathe would've been used to carve wood. Martin, a wood craftsman is dressed colonial working man's garb and volunteered during Rowan Museum's history camp.

The best part of attending history camp for 7-year-old Ben Starnes was cooking. Cooking is something he does with his father and something the rising fourth grader said he rather enjoyed during his week at the Rowan Museum’s history camp.

About 30 campers attended the camp, and it was an opportunity for campers to learn about local history. The weeklong camp allowed campers to visit the Old Stone House, Utzman Chambers House, the Old Courthouse Museum and other local places.


The campers helped make Johnny cakes, sometimes referred to as a “journey cake” or “hoe cake,” potato soup and baked apples as staff cooked them on an open fire. The cakes were broken into bite-sized pieces as little hands grabbed for more.

One camper declared the Johnny cakes were “addictive.”

“I’m glad you like them,” Museum Director Kaye Brown Hirst said.

“The woodworking is the other thing I liked,” Starnes said.

He hopes to turn his own interest in woodworking into a future business with his cousin, he said.

“I like history camp because I’m a history buff. My favorite time period is the Civil War,” Starnes said.

This was his first year at the camp for the Rowan County native.

Allison Knisley, 11, of Hickory, heard about the camp through her sister and her brother, both of whom had attended in the past.

“I like that it’s teaching me a lot more than I would’ve learned in the school year,” Knisley said.

While at history camp, Knisley said she was amazed at how resourceful Michael Braun and his family were during the mid-1700s.

“I really do like cooking. That was fun to do,” Knisley said.

She plans to return to the camp next year and when she’s older, return as a camp staffer.

Hirst said the camp is one that the children can participate in hands-on activities to really experience life in the 18th century.

“It’s hands-on history,” she said.

There are usually 30 children per camp and at least 16 camp staff and other volunteers.

Some volunteers are former campers, like Haley Bowler, 15, who attended when she was in grade school.

This is the third year Bowler has volunteered as part of camp staff.

“I like history and I liked going, so I thought I would like helping,” she said.

“It’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun,” said camp staffer Kayla Stubbs, 17.

The first session of elementary school history camp just finished, but the second session begins July 8 and will end July 12. The third session will begin August 5 and end August 9. The middle school history camp for rising sixth through eighth grades will begin July 22 and last through July 26. There are still some spaces available for each remaining camp. The camps are from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

In addition to history camp, the museum also hosts a five-day Civil War camp for rising sixth through eighth graders only. The camp is July 15-July 19 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Rowan Museum. The campers will study the history of the war, relive the life of a soldier through 19th century life skills, cooking and medicine, as well as marches, drills, military maneuvers.

For more information about the cost of history and Civil War camps, visit the website at www.rowanmuseum.org, contact the Rowan Museum at 704-633-5946 or email tdcreel@fibrant.com for a registration form. The Rowan Museum is located at 202 N. Main St., Salisbury.

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