California Elementary School second graders were giddy with excitement as they reached for a cowbell ringing in Dave Jungmeyer's hand.
"This is how people kept track of their cows before drones," Jungmeyer said. "Back then, things were quiet, and you had to listen to the things around you to find your cattle in the tall grass."
More than 100 children learned about livestock bells and much more May 11 at the Moniteau County Historical Society Museum, which was built in 1902 as California's post office.
Groups of about 20 students were led on walks through history by Jungmeyer on the first floor and Nancy Martin on the second. The lessons dated all the way back to the Manitou petroglyph, noted by Lewis and Clark during their exploration. Moniteau Creek and the county's name are derived from this Native American representation of the great spirit, an historic artwork that was destroyed to make room for the railroad.
Dottie Gump led storytime in the genealogy and research library, where the children learned about establishing family trees and the history of native burial mounds.
Historic Finke Theatre Docent Sara Holtsclaw taught students about the historic opera house, which was completed in 1868. The children learned about the building's history, from a concert hall to a movie theater and back again. The stage was set for the upcoming annual community play, taking place June 10-11, in which some of the children's peers will be performing.
Beth Jungmeyer, Vanda Harlan, Martha Ripple and Debbie Sparks gave the children a little play time, with a presentation and project on old-time toys, like the ones the student's grandparents and great-grandparents might have enjoyed.