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Education through history at museum

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — It’s time to head “Back to School at the Museum” this weekend.

Visitors to the Belmont County Heritage Museum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday will learn how children were educated in a bygone era and how the process has changed through the decades.

Cathryn Stanley, museum curator, said the events and displays are being held in conjunction with the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce’s last Second Saturday of the summer, with a “back to school” theme.

Through fall and summer, the chamber has had “Food Truck Fridays” to bring interest to main street in front of the courthouse followed once a month by “Second Saturdays” with live entertainment.

“It’s a Saturday and school hasn’t started yet, so they’ll be a lot of kids. The prizes are going to be backpacks full of stuff for our scavenger hunt,” Stanley said.

The county tourism office provided the backpacks. She added that Second Saturdays have brought interest to the museum through the summer.

Anne Rattine, “school marm” of the Great Western Schoolhouse along National Road west of St. Clairsville, will be at the museum Saturday in period attire, sharing how education was conducted in the 1800s.

“She’ll be playing old-fashioned games with the kids out front, and we are going to have a scavenger hunt inside the museum here, with prizes for children,” Stanley said. “The scavenger hunt is 11-noon.”

At 1 p.m. there will be a presentation by Janet Bond-Rice about her grandfather, John A. Bond.

“He was a Belmont County surveyor for 18 years. He was a farmer. He was a civil engineer,” Stanley said, adding that Bond also started an orchard near present-day Barkcamp State Park, just off exit 208 of Interstate 70. “It was called Bond’s Orchard. He started it and his son, Dewey, continued it and the family ran it.”

Stanley said Bond’s diary entries were compiled by his granddaughter and stretch over 58 years.

“It covers the Spanish flu – the influenza epidemic. It covers the assassination of President Garfield. He talks about all the things that not only were going on in his life, but also in the country, so it’s very interesting,” Stanley said. “He was a surveyor … a civil engineer and he was a farmer. … He liked to observe the politics of the day. … It might be interesting for people who have this kind of information in their family and don’t know what to do with it.”

Stanley also pointed out displays marking Ohio University Eastern’s 65th-year anniversary. There are sports, theater and academic displays available to view, as well as pictures, photographs and classroom equipment dating from the Ohio University Eastern campus’s early days.

“They’re from all different time periods of the university,” Stanley said.

The OUE exhibit will be up until Sept. 10, followed by an exhibit about the coming Barnesville Pumpkin Festival. That event takes place Sept. 22-25.

Shelly Yoho of Proctor, West Virginia, and children Blake and Elizabeth visited the museum Thursday and were impressed.

“It’s really cool,” Blake Yoho said.

“Some eye-catching stuff as soon as you walk in the door,” Elizabeth Yoho said.

The museum is located in the former sheriff’s residence at 101 E. Main St. in St. Clairsville.

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