Tales from the Tread: Museum hosts virtual book club for students

For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Lulie Crawford, daughter of Steamboat Springs town founder, James Crawford, is one of the main characters in the book, “The Cabin at Medicine Springs.”
Tread of Pioneers Museum/courtesy

Tread of Pioneers Museum staff members continue to serve the community and its rich heritage while the museum’s door are closed, and all in-person events are canceled or postponed during the pandemic.

The Tread of Pioneers Museum is hosting a virtual book club for all Steamboat Springs third through fifth graders featuring the “Cabin at Medicine Springs,” a book for all ages about the lives and adventures of the founding family in Steamboat in the late 1800s. 

“We believe that there is a significant connection between the isolation that our students are experiencing now during the pandemic to the lives of pioneer families,” said museum Executive Director Candice Bannister. “We are eager to provide local students with a new copy of the book at no charge, as well as a weekly guided virtual book club discussion.”

About the book

Tread of Pioneers Museum/courtesy

Lulie, Logan and John Daniel Crawford are pioneer children in a strange new world. Their parents, James and Margaret Crawford, brought the family from their home in Missouri to Steamboat Springs in 1875 to make a new life and eventually start a town. The family enters the desolate world of Northwest Colorado in the late 1800s before trains, cars and even roads, when horses and wagons brought supplies over mountain passes, and the nearest neighbor was dozens of miles away. 

“The Cabin at Medicine Springs” is the story of the adventures, hardships and happiness of the first white settlers in the valley. The fiction book is written by Lulita Crawford Pritchett, granddaughter of town founder, James Crawford. Pritchett reveals the true stories and experiences of the Crawford family that she heard as a young girl.

How the book club works

Local participating teachers will send an invitation from the museum to local students this week. After signing up via email, participating students will then pick up their free copies of the book from the museum. Students will read assigned chapters each week and engage in guided weekly Zoom meetings with the museum’s education coordinator and former elementary teacher, Katie Konold. In addition to basic comprehension strategies, Konold will lead discussions highlighting the important historical differences and similarities between pioneer life and the students’ lives today during the pandemic. 

“We are thrilled by the positive response so far from school principals and teachers,” said Bannister. “We are eager to offer kids a new book and a fun and educational distraction from the day-to-day of this pandemic.” 

In addition to the new book club, the museum is also working with local teachers to provide virtual programs and activities for students and families. Collections and preservation projects also continue at the museum, as well as research, oral history, exhibit preparations and more. Museum staff is taking this unprecedented worldwide crisis as a new opportunity to reach the community in their homes.

The museum’s Facebook page and website have become the place to find educational and entertaining content to keep you connected to local history and culture, as well as a place for people to remember and reminisce while we must social distance. Each day, Bannister posts historical tours, lectures, historical films, collections, stories, historical photos and virtual exhibits.

“Though we look forward to the time when we can welcome everyone back into the museum and to our events in person, we are glad that we can continue our commitment to local history in these new ways,” she said.

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