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Kids learn about pioneer life

Christina Nelson

After learning about life in the Carson Valley during the 19th century, children decided they like being alive during the 21st.

The Mormon Station State Historic Park in Genoa sponsored an event Saturday that taught children about life before electricity.

Although there weren’t as many children as organizers had hoped, the kids who did show up enthusiastically answered questions about pioneer life asked by Park Aide Donna Long, searched for items during a scavenger hunt and learned how to make leaf rubbings.

“We don’t have any boys here, but what do you think boys did in the morning?” Long asked.

After a couple of blank stares, Long asked them what they thought girls did in the morning. When they found out that the girls had to cook breakfast for everyone, wash dishes, clean the house and do the laundry on a tiny scrub board, the girls participating in Saturday’s activities decided pioneer life isn’t for them.

“So, what do you think? Do you want to be a pioneer?” Long asked after she led the group through the museum and explained how pioneers cooked and cleaned.

“No. You have to cook,” said 7-year-old Sarah Vaccaro.

Jean Murray, park supervisor at Mormon Station State Historic Park in Genoa, said she thought the event would be a good way for kids to learn that video games aren’t necessary to have fun.

“We’re trying to introduce them a little bit to nature – things you can do that don’t require batteries,” Murray said.

Long read stories and explained in detail how pioneers used items displayed in the parks museum.

“It’s not interesting for them if they just walk through (the museum),” Murray said. “They need someone to walk them through and tell them stories – to bring it alive.”