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How to Light the Spark by Pamela J. Davison

posted May 8, 2012, 6:02 AM by Pamela Davison
 The Patriot -- Volume 6, Issue 2    May, 2012 
      Do you remember how you first became interested in history and historical sites?  It usually happens when you are a very young child and someone tells you a story about the past, or you find a very old treasure, or you see something somewhere that seems unusual and exotic – and you related to it in an unusual way.

      I never thought much of history classes in school – too much memorizing of names, places and dates.  It all seemed so distant and unrelated to me.  There was a real disconnect between that and the living history that I experienced at historic sites and in the local museums that my family frequently visited.   I remember, as a very young child, visiting Fort Niagara and seeing people dressed in “funny” clothes walking the grounds.  There was strangeness about the whole thing and I was not a little intimidated by those people from the past.  Yet, my curiosity was piqued.

      It was around the age of ten that I began to read historical fiction.  In those books, people from the past became my teachers and I learned from them what life was like back then.  The more I learned, the more I wanted to know, and I learned to ask questions from those interpreters at the parks and museums …and I fell in love with the past.

      Reenactors and historical interpreters are an unusual and friendly group who devote many hours of their spare time to expanding their own knowledge so they can share their experience and know-how with others.  These living historians are the people who make history come alive for us.  It is this experience that we pass on to our guests at Hull Family Home & Farmstead.

       Programming through the summer months centers on the history of the Warren & Polly Hull Family and their descendents.  We know that Warren was a militia man in the Revolutionary War.  Warren and Polly’s daughter, Polly and her husband, Daniel Lewis, lived in Blackrock when Buffalo was burned during the War of 1812.  Warren and Polly’s grandsons served in the Civil War.  Our reenactments and candlelight tours are meant to give our guests some historical perspectives of each of those periods of life in Western New York and how a typical family dealt with the trials and hardships that the common citizen would have had to face.

      Other Hull Family Home & Farmstead events focus on the more genteel aspects of life in the Niagara frontier prior to the building of the Erie Canal.  Tea is served with traditional sweets and savory finger sandwiches by the ladies of the house – along with a lesson on the etiquette of High Tea.  And one of our annual favorites is the Sheep-to-Shawl day where visitors learn how wool is processed beginning with the shearing of sheep, preparation of the wool by carding and spinning, then woven into a beautiful shawl.  Everyone is able to try their hand at these home arts and many return year after year with questions so they can learn more.

     This summer, we will present our fourth annual Summer History Camp for intermediate and middle School children.  This is an immersion environment for boys and girls who will have hands-on experience in life at the Hull House.  Campers learn the typical chores of an early 1800’s  day, cook a meal, dig with archeologists, learn from Native American’s, drill with Revolutionary War and Civil War soldiers, and have plenty of fun all week long.

      So bring your children, your grandchildren, and all the young people in your life to visit us during one of our many summer events.  Give them a lifetime full of wonder and enthusiasm for the past that we all share. 

Give them the opportunity to ignite the spark

that lights a lifetime love for history! 

 Registration Open for 2012 History Camp Sessions

Please check our website for more information on History Camp, programming and events.For detailed information about our History Camp, please contact Suzanne Jacobs by email at