Second-grade students at Fort Meigs Elementary in Perrysburg created models of Fort Meigs for display in the fort’s museum.
Glued-down Army soldiers, Popsicle sticks as houses, and small cylinders painted as cannons are some of the pieces second graders at Fort Meigs Elementary have used to craft makeshift models of the nearby Fort Meigs battlefield.
The school, almost exactly 1 mile from the reconstructed battlefield, partnered with Fort Meigs to create a learning experience for the students. In the fall, the student body and staff at Fort Meigs Elementary took a trip and tour to the fort and learned about its history. In return, each grade participated in different projects and learned facts about the fort.
“I think it opened eyes of the children that live here to go down the street and see one of the largest forts reconstructed,” second-grade teacher Vickie Piersol said. “The tour gave the kids a connection to do the models. In retrospect, [building the models] was a wonderful project, but it was stressful planning it."
Each of the four second-grade classes at Fort Meigs Elementary made two models. Each grade had its own project, including the kindergartners making a quilt, biographies of famous people in history, and toys and dolls from that period.
“It is very important for students to make a connection with the fort and history in the region,” Principal Scott Best said. “Students and people in the community take [the fort] for granted, but it is a great way to reconnect with the past.”
The students’ projects were on display through March and the beginning of April at the fort. Next weekend, a First Siege 1813 Bicentennial Event at the fort will include a wide range of events throughout Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Second-grader Morgan Bowe is expecting to attend some of the bicentennial events.
“I’m excited to see and learn more about it,” Morgan said. “To help protect themselves from bombs, they built a hill.”
Principal Scott Best shows a quilt made by kindergartners at Fort Meigs Elementary. The quilt, which was themed for Fort Meigs, was one of the students' projects on display at the fort's museum.
Artillery fire will be re-enacted at 8 p.m. Friday to help kick off weekend events with a “firefight” across the Maumee River. Fort Meigs Director Rick Finch said the artillery will be on the Maumee side and stationed around the fort with round charges and flash pots to allow visitors to better experience history.
Saturday and Sunday will be filled with weaponry demonstrations and battle re-enactments. Mr. Finch said approximately 550 to 600 re-enactors from California to Newfoundland, Canada, are expected to attend.
Morgan’s classmate Elena Gerken said she wants to learn more about the people who fought in the battle.
Re-enactor Tony Szymanski said he’s looking forward to the event.
“I’m a Vietnam veteran and you look back to old wars to keep them alive,” he said.
“You get out there on the field and see 100 muskets pointed at you and they fire at the same time. You wonder would that would have been like in real life, with real life.”
Contact Matt Thompson at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-356-8786 or on Twitter at @mthompson25.