Presque Isle middle schoolers, UMPI, collaborate for medieval event

Posted March 08, 2010, at 8:46 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:32 a.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A collective of students and club members is collaborating to hold a one-of-a-kind learning opportunity for area middle school students.

Students from the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s medieval history class will join with students from Presque Isle Middle School’s history club and members of the Society for Creative Anachronism to hold a Medieval Faire for area middle schoolers Tuesday, March 23, in Wieden Gymnasium.

The daylong event is expected to bring more than 400 middle school students from across central Aroostook County to UMPI. Organizers are transforming the gym into a medieval village, complete with a castle, monastery, peasant home and workshops.

Booths will showcase aspects of medieval life, including medicine, stained-glass making, bookmaking, music, dancing, food, clothing, spinning, weaving, weapons and warfare.

Kim Sebold, UMPI associate professor of history, said recently that the goal of the fair is to give students a taste of medieval life through a fun and interactive learning experience.

Once inside the gym, each student will be given a passport that tells who they will be in the medieval village.

“As the students visit the various sets that make up the village, they will learn how the person on their passport would have lived during medieval times,” she said. Sebold added that the illusion of traveling back in time “is an excellent way for students in the area to learn about this time period in history, and it’s been a real im-mersion in the culture and history of the time for the university and middle school students who have been creating this medieval village.”

While the UMPI organizers have been preparing, so have the history club members at Presque Isle Middle School. The club has about 12 members, according to Gail Hagelstein, the club’s adviser.

She said students have spent their entire school year as a club researching information for the booths at the fair as well as sewing their own period garb.

This is not the first time the middle school club has collaborated with Sebold and her students. Last year, the groups did projects on local history and family genealogy.

“The Medieval Faire is a wonderful opportunity for both groups of students to present their work from this year to others,” Hagelstein said.

The Society for Creative Anachronism is a not-for-profit educational organization that studies the Middle Ages by re-creating pastimes and crafts of the period. Hailing from various parts of Maine and New Brunswick, members of the group have been tapped to lend an air of authenticity to the fair’s proceedings.

Sebold said everyone involved in planning the event is looking forward to it.

“This has been an excellent, long-term research project and learning experience for my students and for local middle schoolers, and we’re all very excited to see our medieval village come to life,” Sebold said.

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