"Really, for a man who had been out of practice for so many years it was a splendid laugh!" These are some of the words Charles Dickens used to describe the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol".
On December 18, Fort Scott National Historic Site took part in a Holiday Storytelling Extravaganza. Regional educators read holiday themed stories to classes in Kansas, Texas, and New York, using distance learning technology.
The staff at Fort Scott chose to read the story "A Christmas Carol" written by Charles Dickens in 1843. The story quickly became popular and might have been read at Fort Scott in the 1840s.
The setting for the storytelling program was the sitting room on the 1st floor of the officers' quarters at Fort Scott. Volunteer Susan Anderson, dressed as an officers' wife, did the reading of an abridged version of the Christmas Carol to her younger sisters, Liberty and Jubilee Anderson, in two different sessions with classes from New York and Texas participating in each session.
Following the reading, there was a question and answer question session about the story. Judging from their questions, the students were engaged in the story.
This was Fort Scott's initial foray into interpretation to classrooms using distance learning. Over the last two years, the site has been acquiring equipment and now has technology to do programs using Polycom equipment and also web based videoconferencing. The staff has developed programs on the Civil War to be taught via distance learning and plans on launching them in 2013. Interested schools should contact the site's education coordinator, Barak Geertsen by email or by phone at 620-223-0310 for more details.
Did You Know?
Fort Scott never did have a wall around it. It was built upon a bluff which had three steep sides and opened up to prairie in a gradual slope on the south. Many forts were not built with walls at the time; the fort with a stockade is more a product of Hollywood mythology than actual fact.