Learn with Hanford Mills

Writing and Acting Plays




Understand the importance of theater in small town life during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and conduct research on the Internet.


Students will discuss their visit to Hanford Mills and what they learned about the people from East Meredith and they will conduct on-line research to find out more about how people may have interacted.



  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
  • Class Time: 30 minutes


    • As a class or in small groups, read some of the printed diary entries.
      Questions to ask:

    • Who is telling the story?
    • What kind of information can we learn from diaries?
    • How are these diaries different from other books that you read?
    • How do you think the Museum may have used diaries like this one?
    • Choose one of the following options and have students create their own diary entry about their museum visit.

    • For younger students: create a picture diary where students draw pictures to tell about their trip to Hanford Mills Museum. They may phonetically write a story if they wish.
    • For older Students: create a written diary where students write about their day at Hanford Mills Museum. They may draw pictures in the spaces provided if they wish to. Have the students discuss their diaries with the class.
    • As a class, discuss the diaries that the students created.
      o Question to pose to the class:

    • How are diaries written in the past helpful to people who read them today?
    • How are picture diaries written in the past helpful to people who use them today?
  • NOTE FOR VISIT: Ask students to remember their community game roles given to them during their visit. You may wish to record it, or have the students record it on a sheet of paper.
  • Explain that many people in East Meredith enjoyed acting in the local theater. You learned during your visit that some of the people in the community game took to the stage as a form of entertainment. Others preferred to watch the performances from the audience.
  • Show the historic cast photograph and read the caption to the students.
  • Divide students into pairs.
  • Ask each pair to write a five-to-ten line play based on an example of an interaction that might have taken place between their two members of the community game.
  • Ask each pair to act out their short play for the class.
    • Questions to ask

    • How did you know to include the things you included in your short play?
    • What sources did you use?


  • Research
  • Class participation (listening and speaking)
  • Written play
  • Performed play

NYS Learning Standards:

  • ELA Standard 2
  • ELA Standard 3
  • Social Studies Standard 1