The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

July 18, 2013

Duke Homestead Junior Interpreters Breathe Life into History


Thursday, July 18, 2013 — DURHAM, N.C. -- While some students busy themselves studying history, others try to capture it. Currently a group of 15 students, age eight to 18, are in the Duke Homestead State Historic Site Junior Interpreter Program. In addition to learning about regional North Carolina history, the students assist with general operations and special events; such as the summer 2nd Saturdays programs.


"Our student volunteers are a valuable asset to Duke Homestead because in addition to helping the staff with necessary tasks, they demonstrate that this was a real home for a real family," observes Site Manager Jennifer Farley.


Junior interpreters attend workshops and special events to learn about 19th century life in North Carolina. These include the activities of butter churning, dancing, woodstove cooking, period dress, manners and vocabulary.


"Having the junior interpreters as part of a visit brings history alive," says Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz. Kluttz was recently at Duke Homestead for its 2nd Saturdays program where the students took an active part in the presentation. The junior interpreters perform at most living history events at the site.


Kluttz enjoyed boiled peanuts and watermelon rind pickles made by the boys. The girls showed her how they made ragdolls that included one that looked like Benjamin Franklin, complete with a kite. The youngest interpreters spent their time demonstrating 19th century games to the other children who toured.


Junior Interpreters age out at 18. They can then become "Young Ambassadors" with more responsibilities and serve as mentors to the Junior Interpreters.


For more information, please call (919) 477-5498. Duke Homestead interprets the home, factories and farm where Washington Duke first grew and processed tobacco. Duke's sons later founded The American Tobacco Company, the largest tobacco company in the world.  It is within the Division of State Historic Sites in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.