A Children’s History project for
Have kids and families doing historical research and
enjoying their time at Stratford Hall.
Give Stratford Hall a memorable character and storyline
to use as they reach out to the community. Use this as a
base for future events like scavenger hunts, community
days and gatherings.
Introduce kid-friendly tools for historical research and a
way for schools to plug into this process.
Welcome Field Research Interns!
Thank you for your interest in the
SquirreLee Field School program.
(you are now viewing this project as a player!)
We will need you to do historical research in the
house as interns for the SquirreLee Field School,
which works in association with the University of X.
When you visit Stratford, you will be given
a “researchers kit”. Go ahead! Open the
app on the tab that says “FOR KIDS”
“Hello interns and welcome to your first day of field work! My name is
Professor David Scharf and as Director of the University of X*
Historic Preservation Field School and adjunct professor of the
SquirreLee College Field School, we appreciate your help with this
important research project.
* We would like University of X to be the University of Mary Washington if we can get their
“As you may have heard, there is talk of a number of “rats’ nests” inside the
Great House site of the Stratford Plantation. Little is known about these nests.
But we do know that they are of great archeological importance and they need
to be carefully documented, which is why we’ve asked you here. To explain the
project more, I’ll introduce my colleague, Professor Skiorous SquirreLee, lead
on this project and in fact, a direct descendent of the SquirreLees of Stratford
Hall. He’ll be speaking through a translator.”
“Thank you Professor Scharff and welcome, interns. As Prof, Scharff noted, I am
this project lead and will be your advisor. If you’d like to hear more about your
assignment and the history of SquirreLee College, tap HISTORY, if you’d like to
skip that and get directly to your research project, tap RESEARCH”
Ah! You’d like to hear about the history first. It’s wise to have the whole story. The
SquirreLees have a long and important history with the Stratford Plantation. In the
1800's, the SquirreLee family and the Lees of Stratford were very close. The Lees
even included the SquirreLees on their family crest.
“The SquirreLees lived side by side with the Lees for four generations but when
the house was sold in the late 1800's, the oldest son, Thomas SquirreLee
bequeathed the SquirreLee portion of the estate to found SquirreLee College,
which educates over 2500 squirrels in different trees and branches of higher
“Today, the University of X works in collaboration with SquirreLee college Field
School for their field work and excavation at Stratford Hall. Many of the most
interesting archaeological discoveries of Stratford were uncovered by squirrel
researchers. Tap HOME to get to your assignment.”
“Excellent, welcome back. Now that you understand the history of our school,
you’re ready to begin your research. Recently, a visitor discovered a “rats’ nest”
inside the Great House. University of X and SCFS are very interested and these
artifacts need to be documented but the University of X team is stretched thin and
the SCFS team cannot go inside. (It would be rude. They’re squirrels after all.) This
is why they would like to recruit children field researchers to help them. This is
where you come in. Tap RESEARCH to begin.”
“We ask that you abide by our SquirreLee Field School code of conduct. We are a
well-respected organization and you represent us!”
“For your first assignment, go directly to the Great Hall. A visitor reported seeing
paint missing in two places on the wall! Could this be the work of rats? Please take
your notebook and find where this paint is missing. Draw it, sketch it, take notes.
Where in the room is the paint missing? Does it look like a place where a rat could
have chewed? Ask the guide if you’re not sure, sometimes humans know things
that we’ve missed in our own research.”
“Excellent! Next, in the upper stair passage, we’ve heard that there may be a rats’
nest hidden in a corner. Go there and take a look, it should be an unmarked box
with a brown lid. When you find it, tap NEXT. We need to see what the contents
“Alright, now carefully open the box. We’re archeologists so we need to be really
careful with the contents. There should be a pair of gloves there, put them on so
you don’t get your fingerprints and oil on the artifacts. First, we need a log. Just list
what you see, take out each item and write it down. Watch this instructional video
on how to log your artifacts!”
“Great. On one page of your notebook, choose one artifact from the nest and draw it. Then
answer these three questions:
1. What is one true thing about this artifact?
2. Who do you think the rats might have stolen this artifact from?
3. Do you see any years written anywhere? Are there any hints to
what year this artifact was stolen?
Once you’re finished, carefully close the box and put it back. Then tap NEXT and we’ll get to
the next artifact”
“Head to the lower-stair passage where we believe there is a nest with items from
the children’s rooms. Tap NEXT once you’ve found it.”
“We were told that this nest may have childrens’ toys. First, document carefully
everything that you see. ”
“Squirrels really don’t know much about the toys of human children so this is
extremely important research for us. Could you choose one of these toys and
possibly decipher how one could play with it? Find one toy, play with it and in your
notebook, please write the instructions for how it is used.”
• We recommend you market the game as “Field
Research for the SquirreLee College Field School
for Historic Preservation” and send call-outs for
interns between 6 and 12 rather than “a Stratford
game for kids”. This will make it unique and
intriguing – an immersive game rather than tasks
adults make them do.
• Use the “Squirrel” stories as much as you canyoutube videos, items in the giftshop, a SquirreLee
twitter account, a SquireLee blog, all sorts of small
and goofy content to support your game.
• We’re not sure how long each challenge will take, usually you
can engage people for 60-90 minutes before they lose
interest. I suspect that will be an introduction plus 5 “research
• We’ll want to test to see what the proper
length/story/pathways are. Testing is also a great way to
spread the word so you want to test in organized social
groups like 4H, Scouts, Church groups, mommy bloggers
rather than people who don’t know one-another.
• TEST, TEST and TEST! The process will be part of the
product and we can document our testing and use it as part of
marketing. What we find people respond to might be very
different from what we have in mind right now!
We look forward to working with
you on an excellent project!!