Kindergarteners visit Carson Valley Museum

Gardnerville kindergareners check out the old switchboard the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center in Gardnerville. Photo special to The R-C by Robin L. Sarantos

Gardnerville kindergareners check out the old switchboard the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center in Gardnerville. Photo special to The R-C by Robin L. Sarantos

What an exciting Thursday morning it proved to be at the Carson Valley Museum in Gardnerville as Director of Education, docent and retired teacher Kay Kocian, greeted 35 kindergarteners on the steps leading up to the great doors where many before them had entered.

Accompanied by teachers Lynn Keasling, Colleen Kings, and Michelle Baugh along with chaperones Roberta Bunn, Tracey Kiltz, Bree Randall and Gardnerville Elementary School Aide Dani Reid, the children had been well trained in museum etiquette. It’s hard to surpass the pure joy of seeing youngsters experiencing the museum —the delight on their faces, amazement at the history and seeing the antiques on display.

Teachers and chaperones did a wonderful job helping Docent Kay Kocian guide the little ones through Valley history from the outside agricultural exhibits, to the lower floor presentations of the various telephones used in the Valley, a replica of an early dental office along with an exhibit on Dr. Eliza Cook (1856 -1947) - the first woman physician in Nevada who practiced in our Valley . Seeing the displays down “Main Street” caused amazement on the children’s faces as they were introduced the Record Courier’s first office - - and learning about the printing press followed by the Mercantile Store replica at the end of “Main Street.” The Mercantile Store was a precursor to our modern, large stores like Walmart which surprised the children. The beauty parlor brought a lot of giggles from both the kindergarteners as well as their teachers and chaperones when they viewed the vintage electric curling device for long hair. Some wondered what would have happened if lightening had hit the beauty shop!

Some of the kindergarteners were very familiar with the items on display in the farm exhibit and enjoyed seeing examples of branding irons, the hand operated apple juice squeezer, the beautiful hand-tooled saddles, and various other antique farming items used in the Valley’s beginning days. The early living room and kitchen displays brought many questions from the little ones. They listened to Docent Kocian’s explanations and seemed to be absorbing the information while asking questions to gain more knowledge.

Entering the Washo (Washoe) room with so many wonderful exhibits caused the children to pause. From the beautiful baskets, delicately designed bead work, and large collection of arrowheads to the genuine teepee and gorgeous paintings on the walls by Waho artists - all were well appreciated as the kindergarteners observed everything surrounding them.

Teacher Lynn Keasling writes on her Gardnerville Elementary page:

“We come to school so we can learn because learning makes us happy.

 We think in our brains and work hard to get smarter and smarter.”

As the museum displays a vibrant history, experiencing a visit first hand on Thursday, contributed to the youngsters’ happiness and growing knowledge, getting smarter and smarter.

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