WAYLAND — Some think that history is in danger of being forgotten by today’s generation. There are fewer interested in getting involved in museums, historic events, or even knowing about the world as it was 50 years ago.
With the Greatest Generation being fewer in numbers and World War II slipping out of living memory, it is more imperative than ever to get the young interested in history.
Keeping local history on the hearts and minds of the youth has been a passion for decades at the Wayland Historical Society.
However, nowadays it simply it can be rare to find excitement about anything more than fashion and what latest app has been downloaded to your friend’s smartphone.
That is why every single year the Wayland Historical Society puts together an event called “Pioneer Day” at the museum. The Wayland-Cohocton Central School had over 100 fourth graders tour the museum on Oct. 28 and learn about local history. Seven members of the museum shared important aspects of what people did in the past. Local graduate and Springwater resident, Ward Hartenstein, came back to share all of his cool musical inventions with the students.
Belinda Schuyler, Brenda Yeoman and Veronica Weiand from Atlanta and North Cohocton discussed how people lived 100 years ago; how they grew, harvested and prepared food, how they cooked, washed their clothes, entertained themselves and more.
Betty Engel, one of the founders of the museum, explained the very prosperous look of business on Main Street in Wayland many years ago as they observed displays for former shops, the bakery, a meat market, grocery stores, the clothing shops, bank, theater and more.
Mary Lou Kiesl, a retired teacher, and Barbara Goodell, both board members, toured students through the two rooms of exhibits; the Post Office, a one room school, the doctor and dentists office, a Barber Shop, Gunlocke, Woorcroftery, Shaffer’s Soda Bar, Bennett’s Buick Display and more.
Lee Applin, treasurer, explained the history of the agriculture room, the horse drawn tools that were used, and the differences in the way we get our food today.
Not only was it important for the students to get to know the local past, but for the teachers and parents as well. In order to know where you are going you must first know where you have been.