WOW (Window on the World) Farm Program
The WOW Program, which developed in partnership between Vesterheim and the Decorah Community Schools, helps students understand change over time through the history of agriculture. The program began as a single visit to Vesterheim’s historic Jacobson Farmstead, an immigrant farmstead located six miles southeast of Decorah. The visit gives students the opportunity to use nineteenth-century agricultural technology and machinery to press apples, make rope, shell corn, and cultivate the garden.
Expanding beyond the single, hands-on visit, the program now incorporates the Jacobson family’s experiences and local history as a basis for social studies curriculum. Timelines and posters using actual historic photographs from the Jacobson family and other Vesterheim archive materials have been created for each third-grade classroom in the Decorah Community Schools.
Third graders from North Winneshiek School also visit the Jacobson Farmstead to participate in the hands-on activities.
Gundersen Lutheran Health System has pledged $25,000 to Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum over the next five years, beginning in 2010, to fully support the museum’s WOW Farm Program.
Gundersen Lutheran’s support of this program is significant because the funding ensures that over 600 area third graders will have access to meaningful and fun learning experiences that support and enhance the school curriculum. The money pledged is especially used for reimbursing school transportation costs and admission fees and for purchasing materials and equipment.
“Gundersen Lutheran’s support is an investment in education for area youth and demonstrates a commitment to care of the community that extends beyond office walls,” said Jennifer Kovarik, Vesterheim’s registrar and youth educator. “We are so grateful for this donation and thankful to Gundersen Lutheran for valuing this collaboration between the museum and schools,” she added.
For more information about this program, please contact Vesterheim at 563-382-9681 or firstname.lastname@example.org.