Students "make fun" of Thanksgiving
November 24, 2011
Students in Cambridge, Somerville, and Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, made turkey noisemakers during the week before Thanksgiving as part of the Historic Toys and Optical Illusions after-school curriculum, developed by the education staff at the Otis House Museum in Boston.
After looking at a photograph of Bertram, a turkey who lives at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in Newbury, students examined a proclamation of 1863, whereby Massachusetts Governor John Andrew and President Lincoln jointly declared August 6 a day of national thanksgiving. (August 6 was chosen by Lincoln to commemorate the Union Army’s victory at Gettysburg in July 1863. In October of the same year, he issued a new proclamation that changed the holiday to the last Thursday in November.)
After making their gobbling turkeys (the noise comes from a small piece of sponge that creates audible friction when pinched and tugged down a string on the inside of the cup), students listened to Thanksgiving in the White House, a story about how President Lincoln’s son Tad saved the life of Jack, a turkey who was to be served at the very first Thanksgiving dinner in the White House. Students at the Brown School in Somerville had fun providing sound effects for the story by making their turkeys squawk whenever Jack appeared in the book. Gobble gobble!