This year we’ve been studying early American history, including prehistory, Native American cultures, explorers, colonialism, and a little bit of the Revolutionary War.
We homeschoolers love to bring things to life, to make them tangible to children. When I was planning our year out, I knew that I wanted to provide those “hands on” experiences, but I was afraid I might struggle with it here in our little corner of the world.
McClung Museum was a great resource for bringing some Native American cultures to life, specifically with their temporary (now gone) Tlingit exhibit and a Family Day featuring the Cherokee people, but I was worried that there would be a gap up to civil war history, which Knoxville is rich in. And then I happened upon the Ramsey House.
The Ramsey House was built shortly after the Revolutionary War for Colonel Francis Alexander Ramsey, and it was the most lavish home in all of Tennessee at the time of its construction.
The Ramsey House proved to be a great capstone to our year of study. Our guide was very knowledgeable, happy about having kids around, and generous with her time. That’s key to a good field trip!
Plan to end your visit with a picnic on the scenic grounds. It’s peaceful, shady, and convenient.
School and homeschool groups can arrange to include a special program as part of their visit. At our visit, we were able to fulfill my kids’ dreams of learning to make cornhusk dolls. They’re completely hooked on cornhusk and ragdoll making now!
The home is full of artifacts from the period, including (as you see in the slideshow above) an innovative table design from the time, a sewing kit such as all ladies depended upon, samplers by one of Ramsey’s daughters, and children’s toys.
Whether you’re a local family in East Tennessee or just passing through Knoxville, I highly recommend taking a tour of the Ramsey House to help make your history studies come to life.