An academic honor society has prepared to host an interactive event for children outside the local history house Saturday to help kids explore different time periods in history.
Members of Eta Phi, Harding’s chapter of the Phi Alpha Theta historical honor society, collaborated with academic departments and local organizations to plan their third annual History Faire, Eta Phi faculty adviser Julie Harris said.
Junior MaryKyle Bartlett, who coordinated the event, said the History Faire will take place March 26 from 9-11:30 a.m. at the Harding History House lawn and will include a variety of themed booths for kids to explore. Bartlett said she looks forward to working with children in the community and getting them excited about learning.
“It’s so much fun to be able to welcome kids and familiarize them with our campus and just to have a very hands-on experience with them, where they’re going to have a blast doing different activities and then also learn some about history at the same time,” Bartlett said.
Children ranging from 3-year-olds to fourth graders can participate in the event, Harris said. Historical society members will give each child a drawstring backpack, plastic pith helmet and blank passport for them to fill by receiving an ink stamp at each table, Bartlett said.
Harris said people from academic departments such as foreign language, communication, history and math plan to set up booths at the History Faire. In addition, Bartlett said organizations such as Harding’s ROTC program and the Arkansas State Parks will have stations.
Harris said themes for the booths include ancient hygiene, medieval history, the French Revolution and more. Workers are also bringing back the archeology booth, featuring an activity in which children can search for objects in a swimming pool filled with sand.
Bartlett said many students helping with the History Faire hope to pursue a career in teaching. Harris said students from education professor Amy Adair’s class on social studies for elementary teachers will be operating a booth, which will give students valuable experience working with children.
“These are people who are going to go out and teach these very age groups, and so they need to find a way to integrate history into their world and into their classroom, and this is one way to do that,” Harris said.
Junior Mason Spivy, the assistant coordinator for the History Faire, said he plans to dress up as George Washington and take photos with children at the event. Spivy said although he would like to teach high school and college students after graduating, the History Faire will provide examples of creative teaching methods that he can adapt for older audiences.
“It’ll show me kind of how to make things interesting for students,” Spivy said.
Harris said former Eta Phi member Hannah Clifton kickstarted the society’s first History Faire in 2018.
The society received funding from the Ganus Chair of History and Political Science endowment this year to help cover costs of supplies for the event, Harris said.