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UMPI, Presque Isle Middle School students to host Medieval Faire

Wednesday, 03 March 2010

Students from the University of Maine at Presque Isle's Medieval History class will be joining with middle school students in Presque Isle Middle School's History Club and members of the Society for Creative Anachronism to host a Medieval Faire for area middle schoolers on Tuesday, March 23 in Wieden Gymnasium.

More than 400 middle school students from across central Aroostook County have been invited to take part in this one-of-a-kind learning opportunity during morning and afternoon sessions. In preparation for their visit, organizers are transforming Wieden gym into a medieval village, complete with a castle, monastery, peasant home, and workshops. They have been helped in their efforts by the University's Physical Plant staff, Dr. Michael Amey's Medieval Literature Class, and other staffers from across campus.

Each booth will showcase various aspects of medieval life including: medicine, stained-glass making, bookmaking, music, dancing, food, clothing, spinning, weaving, weapons, and warfare. According to Dr. Kim Sebold, UMPI Associate Professor of History, the goal of the faire is to give students a taste of medieval life through a fun and interactive learning experience.

"When students arrive at the faire, they will be given a passport that tells them who they will be in our medieval village," Sebold said. "As the students visit the various sets that make up the village, they will learn how the person on their passport would have lived during medieval times. ‘Traveling back in time' like this is an excellent way for students in the area to learn about this time period in history, and it's been a real immersion in the culture and history of the time for the University and middle school students who have been creating this medieval village."

Gail Hagelstein is the adviser of the Presque Isle Middle School History Club, which has about a dozen members. She said students have spent their entire school year as a club researching information for the various booths at the faire as well as sewing their own period garb.

"The Presque Isle Middle School History Club members are thrilled to be working again with Dr. Kim Sebold and her students," Hagelstein said. "This working relationship between UMPI and PIMS started last year with projects on local history as well as family genealogy. The medieval faire is a wonderful opportunity for both groups of students to present their work from this year to others."

In addition to the work that University and middle school students have been doing, an exciting element of the faire will be the participation of members of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Hailing from various parts of Maine and New Brunswick, members of this not-for-profit educational organization study the Middle Ages by recreating the pastimes and crafts of the period. Members of the group - who frequently hold gatherings that range from tournaments and festivals to feasts and classes about crafts of the time - will lend an air of authenticity to the faire's proceedings.

"This has been an excellent, long-term research project and learning experience for my students and for local middle schoolers and we're all very excited to see our medieval village come to life," Sebold said.