The group of Chinese students seemed mesmerized by the smell of coal burning, the 2,500-degree heat, the pounding from the blacksmith on their visit to the Toledo Museum of Art.
The 18 middle-school-aged students, who struggled to speak English, are on a three-week tour of northwest Ohio as part of a program through the American Cultural Exchange Service.
Their stops have included a Rossford school board meeting, where the jet-lagged visitors closed their eyes, the Imagination Station in downtown Toledo, and the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., a Detroit suburb. The art museum trip was last Wednesday.
"It's wonderful," said Zhao Jiancong, a teacher from the Lanzhou No. 35 Middle School in northwest China, about the trip so far.
Blacksmith Hans Ruebel, who teaches classes at the museum, led the students on a tour of the workshop and did a live demonstration as he shaped iron.
"Some people think blacksmithing has died out," Mr. Ruebel told the children, who snapped photographs. "But actually, the opposite is true."
The students, who are staying with local host families while they attend class in Rossford, Genoa, and Oregon schools, are to return home to the Gansu province Sunday.