Celebrating 125 Years
On the grounds of the Cherokee Strip Museum stands Rose Hill School, a one-room country school built northeast of Perry in 1895. In schools like this one, students received their education from the first through the eighth grade. Rose Hill was moved to the Cherokee Strip Museum in 1971. The school contains most of its original furnishings, including a cast-iron stove and wooden two-seater desks. In 1988 the school building took on a new role when it became the site of the living history program titled A Day at Rose Hill School.
Rose Hill School is not only an example of a traditional one-room schoolhouse from Oklahoma’s early days, but also a place where children can learn in an exciting, hands-on environment. Third- and fourth-grade students from all over the state come to Rose Hill School for an enlightening and educational experience where they learn what life was like for young people in 1910.
This program has served more than 81,000 Oklahoma scholars, accompanied by over 10,000 teachers and parents.
Dressed in period clothing and carrying makeshift syrup buckets containing their lunch, students make their way to the schoolhouse. As they cross the time bridge over the creek, they pretend to travel back in time to become scholars attending one of Oklahoma’s early one-room schools. Greeted at the door by a stern-looking schoolmarm, the students file into the classroom and take their seats. During the day, the scholars have exercises in cursive writing, cyphering (arithmetic) with slate boards and chalk, and reading from McGuffey’s readers. Scholars also study history and geography, do chores, and play games.
We send participating schools hands-on boxes to help the “scholars” to prepare for their trip back in time. Food, games, songs, personal hygiene, and punishments are among the topics discussed.
New COVID-19 Safety Procedures
For the safety of students, teachers, and museum staff, schools will need to check temperatures before getting on buses to visit the museum. Masks will be required, hand sanitizer will be readily available, and staff will clean and sanitize before and after each class.
We will be bringing the students into the museum in smaller groups, while the others wait their turn outside of the museum. Students will follow paths throughout the museum and gift shop and maintain social distancing. We will limit the number of visitors inside the restrooms at any time.
The schoolhouse experience will be mostly the same, except we will not be able to handle as many scholars. Scholars will be wearing masks and sitting farther apart. While they will still use pens, nibs, slate boards, and chalk, all shared materials will be sanitized before each class.
Instead of using the McGuffey Readers, we may print pages from the books for each scholar, which they can keep. All of the scholars will get certificates, and we will still take a quick class photograph that they can purchase.