The Butler County Historical Society will present on Saturday, June 9, the first of four summer multi-generational programs designed for children and their parents or grandparents. It will be held in the front yard of the society’s Benninghofen House museum at 327 North Second Street, Hamilton, and begin at 9:30 a.m. and end around 2 p.m. The program is free and open to the public, thanks to a generous grant from the W. E. Smith Family Trust of Oxford.
“World War I and the White House Sheep” will tell the story of how President Woodrow Wilson had several dozen sheep on the grounds to cut maintenance costs during World War I. The flock acted as lawnmowers and fertilizers and a grumpy ram named Old Ike became a celebrity for loving discarded cigar butts. During this session we will be carding wool, learning about “Victory Gardens” and participants can plant their own seeds to take home. We plan to have several live sheep in the front yard for children to enjoy.
All activities are designed as hands-on experiences with no set program. People can join the event anytime between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. In the case of poor weather, activities will be moved inside to the Emma Ritchie Auditorium.
Kathy Creighton, executive director of the historical society, said she expects children and their family members will have a good time again this year. “Last year, the sheep were probably the most popular attractions for the kids. The children and their parents and grandparents who attended our summer programs in 2017 really enjoyed them and we are happy to be bringing back the sheep for the kids. We think this program will be an excellent hands-on experience and great fun for all.”
Participants can also see the historical society’s year-long exhibit which focuses on the story of World War I in Butler County. “Over There, Over Here: Butler County Stories of World War I” opened last year and can be visited during the day.