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Country schools are a symbol of America's dedication to education. These structures are disappearing but an upcoming exhibit, "Yesterday's Schools," at the Education Center will feature Gloria Hawkins' pictures of country schools throughout the nation. She serves as a board member of the Country Schools Association of America and has been photographing these symbols of free public education for 17 years. During this time she has photographed schools in 42 states. Her photographs will be on display from July 25 through Oct. 28, 2015.
Hawkins, a former educator, was introduced to photographing country schoolhouses during a school field trip to a living history museum in Kansas. "Along with the students I dressed in period clothing, attended classes, played games, and ate lunch as a student would have done in 1904. Photographing the activities of students learning history while having so much fun hooked me. My interest was sparked and a determination to photograph all the standing one room schoolhouses was created.
She is inspired each time she photographs a country school. "Each time I photograph a school I realize how they served as the background of their community and represented a way of life in America. Each unique school reflected the values of the residents in the community that built them and I am reassured of the need to preserve this history," said Hawkins.
"Freeman School at Homestead served homesteaders' children for over 95 years. Education was an important element of the homesteading experience and we are excited to have this exhibit which showcases the variety of country schools," said Superintendent Mark Engler.
Hawkins will also present a program on "The Many Lives of One Room Schoolhouses" on October 11, 2015 at 2 p.m. in the Education Center.
Remember, Homestead National Monument of America has an exciting schedule of events planned for 2015. Keep up with the latest information by following us on Twitter (HomesteadNM) and Facebook (Homestead National Monument of America).
Homestead National Monument of America is a unit of the National Park Service located four miles west of Beatrice, Nebraska. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is free of charge. For additional information, please call 402-223-3514 or visit https://www.nps.gov/home/
EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICATMThe National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.