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Kids, parents learn about North Georgias mining history
Joshua Kornegay, 4, of Cleveland places a weight on a scale as he learns to assay gold Sunday at the Northeast Georgia History Center. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Nine-year-old Cole Kaminski enjoyed panning for gold Sunday afternoon at the Northeast Georgia History Center.

But what was his favorite part of experiencing what life was like in 1829?

“I liked it right at the end,” Cole said. The was, of course, when you get the gold.

Cole was one of many participants at the Northeast Georgia History Center ready to have some fun learning about a miner’s life. The event, “Thar’s Gold in Them Thar Hills,” was sponsored by the North Georgia Eye Clinic, making admission free to the public.

“It teaches them about life a long time ago,” said Cindy Kaminski, Cole’s mom, who is a teacher at Cornelia Elementary. “Looking at the photographs and some of the artifacts and things that are here are interesting for them.”

Glen Kyle, managing director of the Northeast Georgia History Center, said the purpose of family fun days is to have engaging and interesting activities while focusing on the region’s history.

Gold panning was set up right outside of the history center, where kids and adults could pan for gold. There also were many other activities related to what life was like in the 1800s.

“We have a small display of some tools and some original bricks from the gold museum in Dahlonega,” Kyle said. “We have an ‘assayer’s office’ where ‘gold’ is weighed and a value is given to it.”

Kids could make a quill, which was for storing, carrying, and trading gold. They could also design their own paper gold coin, make a pop-up miner and participate in a “Go for the Gold” scavenger hunt.

“I think it is good for adults to see their kids get involved, and — you would not think so — but the parents sometimes get just as excited about a scavenger hunt and the crafts and activities as the kids do,” Kyle said. “I think it is good for the parents and children to do this kind of thing together because it builds that bond — kids can think, ‘If mom and dad are doing this with me, it must be important.’ ”

Flowery Branch resident Emily Warlick, who regularly attends the history center’s family fun days, was present Sunday with her two daughters, Madison, 10, and Camille, 6.

Warlick said that the history center does a good job bringing history to life with the activities. She said her girls don’t even know that they are learning while they are having fun.

“They love it — they beg to come,” Warlick said.

Warlick said it is important for kids to learn about what life was like in the 1800s, and she loves the fact that her daughters can see that it was difficult yet rewarding.

“Here they can have the hands-on experience to see what it was really like,” she said. “It is different than reading about it in a book.”

Warlick admits that she has a ball at the history center’s family fun day events.

“If it is not busy or if a table isn’t full, I will get in there and participate, too,” she said.

Regional events