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Pupils author history brochure


A new Kids’ Walking Map of Historic Downtown Fredericksburg made by local students was unveiled at the Fredericksburg Visitor Center on Friday night.

The brochure includes a map of downtown, a list of 20 notable locations and sketches of six of those featured places with information about them.

It also has a stamp activity in which students solve riddles to locate an artifact at the featured sites. There, they can find stamps to decorate their brochures.

Julie Perry, manager of the Fredericksburg Visitor Center, said the brochure was made “by kids, for kids.”

Perry had the idea to replace out-of-date maps the Visitor Center had been using with ones that incorporated more technology and interactive aspects.

She asked Gabriel and Scarlett Pons, artists and owners of the gallery and studio Ponshop in downtown Fredericksburg, to lead the Portal to History project. The Ponses had existing educational programs they could draw upon.

The two created a six-week course for eight local students. The course is sponsored by Ponshop and the Visitor Center.

“The kids did everything,” Scarlett Pons said. “They drew the images, they did the writing, they made the map.”

Pons said the first three weeks of the course were spent visiting all the sites and sketching them with notes. The last half of the class was used to sort through their information and create the brochures.

She said that some of the children were focused on the writing, some on creating the map and some on the drawing.

Madelyn Descutner, 13, said she enjoyed the project because it combined history and drawing. Madelyn’s drawing of the Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, her favorite of the locations, is in the brochure.

Caroline Connors, 16, said she enjoyed visiting and learning about historical landmarks she lives close to, but had never visited.

Her mother, Sue Connors, said she was happy that Caroline had the opportunity to work with professional artists.

“It was inspiring for her to get this opportunity,” she said.

All of the students were excited to see their work published and available for the public.

“It’s pretty crazy,” said David Pearcy, 14, who worked primarily on the map.

The brochure also has an online component with additional information.

Perry said she hopes the new map will encourage visitation to the sites and museums included.

“It is fresh and relevant for visiting families,” she said.

The map can be found at the Visitor Center, Ponshop and the six featured locations, which include Mary Washington House and Kenmore Plantation.

Emily Montgomery: 540/374-5417