Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Highlights from Family History Summer Camp!

By Casey Gymrek

It has been a busy summer for our Education Outreach team!

Roughly a month ago, you may have seen some details regarding our very first Family History Summer Camp. As we are reminiscing on all our fun, we wanted to share a few photos chronicling that week.

We began our week as investigators, looking into the genealogy of two famous Tennesseans – Justin Timberlake and Dolly Parton! Through their families, we discovered the importance of vital records and the fun challenges that arise from large family trees.

We were even treated to a visit from our State Librarian, Chuck Sherrill.

Each day, the campers loved playing with our historic games on our front lawn – the Game of Graces is harder than it appears!

To place our own family histories in the greater context, we also explored various parts of Tennessee history through primary sources (like our fantastic map collection!) and games.

Each day, we put on our genealogists’ hats and got to work, digging through our family histories with the help of Ancestry. Some of our campers were able to trace back four or five generations!

Of course, we couldn’t get through summer camp without getting a little messy, and so the campers were introduced to historic food by creating their own hardtack. Most of our campers would not recommend eating the hard, particularly bland cracker.

One of campers’ favorite days included a visit from Kim Wires, who shared with us some awesome and (maybe a bit morbid) items and stories from our Tennessee State Supreme Court Collection.

Other days included exciting field trips around downtown Nashville. Our trip to the Capitol enlightened the campers into our governmental history, and another trip allowed us to “march” to the Hermitage Hotel in our women’s suffrage memorabilia to highlight our excitement for the 2020 centennial celebration of the passing of the 19th Amendment!

Our last day included an amazing scavenger hunt on African Americans in Tennessee history at Bicentennial Mall State Park. All in all, we learned a lot about ourselves, our families, and our state. What a great week!

Education Team at the State Library and Archives would like to thank all the staff of the Library and Archives, the Tennessee State Capitol, the Hermitage Hotel, and Bicentennial Mall State Park staff that were tremendously helpful and supportive of our first summer camp. We could not have had this much fun in this new adventure without you!

Stay tuned for more exciting youth and family programming as we get closer to the opening of our new building!

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett

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