Museum of the American Revolution’s Living History Youth Summer Institute students in front of the Dennis Farmhouse

The Museum of the American Revolution’s (MoAR) Living History Youth Summer Institute traveled to The Dennis Farm for a field trip, on July 29, 2022. The Youth Summer Institute, held from July 6 to August 12, introduced participants to the field of costumed historical interpretation and various departments within the MoAR. The students were between 16-21 years of age and all were African American. One of the Institute’s goals is to introduce young people to the contributions and stories of people of African ancestry and how they encountered the events of the American Revolutionary Era. For many of the participant’s, this was their first interaction with stories of people of African descent who lived during the American Revolution. During the five-week program, guest speakers and interpreters engaged with the young people.

The program also included field trips. When Michael Idriss, director of the Living History Youth Summer Institute, contacted DFCLT about hosting a field trip, he wrote,

“I would love for our participants to visit the Dennis Farm to learn about the contributions of this incredible family, the importance of rural spaces, and connecting stories of people of African descent. … This might also be a great opportunity for participants to learn more about the docent program at Keystone College that has helped with the interpretation of the Dennis Farm.”

The Living History Youth Summer Institute’s field trip to The Dennis Farm began at Keystone College with a program, video tour of the Farm, and lunch.

Keystone College-DFCLT liaison, Lucas Taylor, gave a presentation about the KC-DFCLT docent program including how he selects and trains student docents and what the work entails. Members of the DFCLT team, including Board member and archaeologist Patrice Jeppson, PhD; Land Manager, John Arnone; VP of Development, Darryl Gore; Phil Condron of Condron Media, Advisory Board member, George Stark, and President Denise Dennis addressed the students, as well.

Following the program, the students proceeded to The Dennis Farm for a tour that began at the Perkins-Dennis Cemetery where Darryl Gore and Denise Dennis shared the history of the Perkins-Dennis family, through the stories of the family members resting in the cemetery. The students then walked downhill to the Prince Perkins Homestead Site where the family originally settled. Archaeologist Patrice Jeppson described the archaeological studies done at the Perkins Site, the field of professional archaeology, and showed them artifacts similar to those found at the Perkins Site. The tour then moved downhill to the Barn Complex Ruins where Lucas Taylor described the Dennis Farm’s 19th century livestock and crops. The tour ended at the farmhouse where Denise briefly described the Dennis family’s life in the house during the 19th and 20th centuries. Darryl Gore showed the students artifacts uncovered near the Dennis Farmhouse, in 2021, by Board member and archaeologist, Wade Catts.

The Museum of the American Revolution’s Living History Youth Summer Institute students and staff were enthusiastic about all they experienced and learned at the Dennis Farm. One young man commented that he was surprised by how “vast” the property is and a couple of the young women commented on how inspiring it was for them to see and hear a woman leader.

Coterra Energy sponsored MoAR’s Living History Youth Summer Institute’s transportation and Keystone College luncheon.