Happy summer from the John Jay French Museum! This season has been an extremely busy one and we are excited to report that tours are up due to vacationers and, of course, group tours. The Beaumont Heritage Society was organized, in part, for educational purposes. One way we fulfill this obligation is through our tours of the John Jay French and Chambers House museums throughout the year. If you haven’t been in a while, you need to gather your friends and family and come for a visit! Do you want to know why all those holes are punched into the tin on the French family pie safe, or even what a pie safe is? We have docents that can tell you and after Camp Lookinback 2015, we have a fair number of six to eleven year old children who can tell you, too!
Each July at the French Museum, we get to surround ourselves with up to 60 inquisitive children who receive an immersive history lesson without even knowing it! They are having that much fun! This year was no exception. Campers didn’t just learn how to write with a quill pen, they got to make their own ink from blackberries. Hungry? What would Sally French do? She would make corn fritters, of course, so that’s exactly what the kids did. Those fritters tasted even better after campers worked up an appetite grinding corn!
Our four day summer camp consists of twelve activities each session. This year, kids experienced a 1800’s school day and hands-on farm animal care, participated in a mock archaeological dig, made Native American art, and even learned how to make arrowheads by flintknapping. Kids also learned all about pitcher plants and got to make one of their own, and washed clothes and fetched water the old fashioned way. As if all that wasn’t enough, there were lots of giggles heard during our deportment segment dancing the Virginia Reel!
We are so very grateful to the many individuals who volunteered their time and talents by sharing them with the children at Camp Lookinback. We would like to thank archaeologists Dr. Charlie Bollich and Brenda and Ron Jackson; M. Jeanene Ebeling and Terrie Looney from the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center; Leslie Lloyd and the 8th Bridge City Red Raiders; artist, Susan Mosier; flintknapper, Tim Durr; Big Thicket National Preserve rangers; Ramona Hutchinson from JCHC; Carla Tucker; Randy Pemberton; Nancy Cook; Mark Phelan; and our many camp counselors. We would also like to thank the YMBL for providing a grant which enables us to offer scholarships to children in underserved communities. Folks like these help us ensure that Camp Lookinback is both fun and educational and available to children through-out the Golden Triangle. Look for all new activities at Camp Lookinback 2016!
Janci Kimball, Assistant Director