News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

September 25, 2011

VIDEO: Learning on the Move: Family Learning Day activities take participants all over Vigo County

TERRE HAUTE — The streets seemed brighter Saturday morning as children moseyed from stop to stop amid a day for family learning.

Nearly 50 stations throughout the county served as stopping points for the annual Family Learning Day, coordinated by the Vigo County Public Library. Activities ranged from music lessons to crafts to Alpaca visits at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College’s White Violet Center.

June Dunbar, youth service coordinator at the Vigo County Public Library, said one of her activities inside that facility’s basement alone drew 135 children in the morning. In addition to story hours and games in and around the library, the facility gave away books and learning materials in an effort to increase literacy awareness.

“It’s a fun event and it’s fun to walk around and see what the kids are doing,” Dunbar said later that afternoon. The library has been hosting the event for a number of years in a variety of manners, most recently pairing it up with the Downtown Street Fair. This weekend brought participation by nonprofit agencies and area merchants, and happened to fall on the first birthday of the new Terre Haute Children’s Museum. “I thought it was well attended,” Dunbar said, explaining total participation would be hard to judge given the program’s geographic spread and duration.

Lynn Hughes, executive director of the Terre Haute Children’s Museum, said about 600 visitors came through the facility by early Saturday afternoon, in addition to 200 on Friday.

“It’s been pretty steady. We’ve had people coming through all day,” she said, adding the museum’s first birthday at the new location on South Eighth Street and Wabash Avenue was going well.

And museum visitors got a chance to hang with a superhero Saturday as part of the “Staying Fit With Spiderman” program.

The web-crawling hero visited the museum’s theater at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. showings to teach children about eating right and exercising.

“Basically encouraging people to live health lives,” Hughes said.

Martha Crossen hosted “Fiber Fun” at her store, River Wools, at 671 Wabash Ave.

“It’s always fun,” she said, noting about a dozen children came to participate in a variety of knitting classes. “We do finger-knitting with the children. They love looking at all the colors.”

Down the street at the Clabber Girl Museum, exhibits remained on display throughout the day, and local artist Debbie Anderson had 39 pieces of her “intarsia art” on show.

“It’s sort of a lost art, but I think it’s going to come back,” the Lost Creek Elementary School teacher said.

Intarsia art begins with the artist drawing a picture and then cutting out thin pieces of wood to craft into a puzzle-like picture. Each piece of wood is individually cut and, Anderson said, remains all-natural and un-stained. Different types of wood, such as pine and birch, possess different natural colorings and shades, which serve the overall appearance, she explained.

“It’s very time-consuming to make,” she said, noting this style of art has been found in the ancient pyramids of Egypt, as well as areas of India. Her work will remain on display inside the museum through November.

Other activities throughout the day included solar observation and astronomy at the John C. Hook Observatory at Indiana State University, and train activities at the Wabash Valley Railroad Museum on Plum Street.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or

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