History for the Holidays

Photo courtesy of Old World Wisconsin

Photo courtesy of Old World Wisconsin

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Kettle Moraine School for Arts and Performance (KM Perform) works to cultivate learning in new and innovative ways. Arguably, one of the most positive methods the school utilizes is working with community organizations. KM Perform first started helping to organize the Old World Wisconsin Christmas event in Winter 2017. The students participating in the seminar, “History for the Holidays,” are working with the Old World Wisconsin staff to bring a special “KM Perform touch” to the event. “An Old World Christmas” takes place over the course of six days; it contains crafts, stories, demonstrations, carols, and many more activities for those attending.

Based on what they will be helping with, students are split into two different groups. The first group consists of Klaudia Rixmann (senior), Linnea Hietala (sophomore), and Asher Schleich (senior). These three students are working directly with the Old World Wisconsin staff and taking on docent roles in the historical buildings. “I am going to be working as a student docent, a volunteer guide working in character in the homes and stores of Old World [Wisconsin]. I will be assuming characters in the Yankee House, tending to a Christmas dinner, and in the shoe shop, relaying the story of St. Nicholas to visitors,” Rixmann states. The second group of students, consisting of Josh Riesing (junior) and Mackenzie Momsen (freshman), are helping as extra hands at the event as well as storytellers. “I’ll be reading stories [in Saint Peter’s Church] and helping wherever [else] I’m needed,” Momsen explains.
KM Perform works to help cultivate real world experience in students. In the past, KM Perform students have helped Old World Wisconsin with their Halloween event. Most students participating in this year’s holiday event also participated in either one or both of the previous opportunities with Old World Wisconsin, and are returning to help further in experience they enjoyed so much. “I worked with Old World Wisconsin on their Legends and Lore Halloween event. For that event, groups of students worked together to create a final product that would be performed at the venue. I loved the professional atmosphere and how different working there was from anything I’d done before. I learned a lot from the experience and it gave me a really good idea of how my art form works after high school,” Hietala states. Rixmann also adds, “I decided to volunteer again because I have a passion for history and making sure important lessons don’t get lost to history…I believe Old World [Wisconsin] is a special place that…fosters a stronger sense of what it means to be a Wisconsinite.”

The events will be mostly driven by students, working and communicating directly with the staff at Old World Wisconsin. The event is taking place the first three weekends of December: December 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 15th, and 16th. For more information, visit the Old World Wisconsin Website. “I am most looking forward to interacting with guests, more specifically young children. You can almost see the gears [turning] and the sparks flying behind their eyes full of wonder as they experience things from the past,” Rixmann concludes.