history to go box The Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex is offering history kits for kids every first Tuesday of the month. The kits, called History To-Go boxes, are full of interactive activities for children and their families. History To-Go boxes are designed for kids ages 6 to 12. The kits invite participants to enjoy and learn about the greater Cape Fear region.

Each month, the themed boxes have worksheets, writing prompts and crafts. February’s theme was the Underground Railroad. The kit included crafts and helped kids locate the North Star in the Little Dipper using a cardboard tube and a flashlight. In March, the boxes were centered around the American Revolution and contained decoding activities. April’s theme is textiles.

“’Textiles’ is going to have a little cardboard loom that comes prestrung with yarn, so the kids learn how to weave,” said Sarah Stubbs, museum administrative assistant.

The box is also going to delve into the history of mill villages. These villages were created by the mill owners close to their textile mills. Textile mills required running water from streams and rivers, and these often were in rural settings, meaning workers needed to either travel from larger towns or live nearby. Setting up the villages for their workers gave the mill owners a way to keep staff around and keep an eye on their workers.

“There’s a worksheet that we call ‘mill village math,’ and that plays off of an oral history interview that is included (in the box),” said Stubbs. “What is unique about that time period is that we do have audio-recorded oral history interviews. I took a transcription of one of those about two people, a married couple, who worked at a mill when they were children, roughly the same age as the kids who will get the boxes. Using the information we got out of that oral history interview, the kids have to learn how much money they would’ve been making as kids and the cost of living at that time.”

The Museum launched History To-Go boxes in the summer of 2021. The museum holds a yearly summer camp for kids, but with the uncertainty of COVID-19 restrictions, the museum decided to make summer camp mobile.

“They (the boxes) were so popular; we decided to bring them back on a monthly basis,” Stubbs said.

Boxes are available for pick up beginning on the first Tuesday of every month. Currently, families are limited to two boxes per family.

“We have a section on our website where every month we put PDFs of what we have in the box, including a list of materials that you would need to do your own hands-on-activity, so if you have other children or if you are a large homeschool group and you want to replicate the boxes yourself, you can do that from our website,” Stubbs said.

The Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex is located at 801 Arsenal Ave. in Fayetteville and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

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