In 2014, the Swift Current Museum engaged its’ community to build a small-scale model of a sod house. Culture Day’s Elvira Truglia spoke with Stephanie Kaduck, Coordinator, Education and Public Programs about this innovative project in rural Saskatchewan.
Culture Days: For your Centennial Year celebrations, you engaged elementary school students to create a hands-on activity for the public. Tell me about the model settler home or “soddie” you created for Culture Days at the Swift Current Museum.
Stephanie Kaduck: During Culture Days 2014, we invited all grade three and four students in the city to help us build a sod house. They came over the course of two days. Students cut sod bricks and helped us stack them to build the structure. The finished building was furnished and was accessible to the public all weekend.
Culture Days: What inspired you to create such a participatory project about Saskatchewan heritage?
Stephanie Kaduck: Our permanent exhibition features a section about sod houses. School children have always been fascinated by the “soddie” and I am always looking for ways to animate the discussion. I have created interactives in the past to bring forth understanding of what it might have been like to live in a sod house. When the City was willing to provide sod and all museum staff was interested in participating, we were able to carry out this project.
The children were able to get a sense of the physical work required to build a soddy. What I enjoyed most was the pride that the students took in their work! They were very excited and focused. Their pride was palpable, and is something that I will seek to generate in future programs.
Culture Days: How did people respond to the “soddy”? Do you have any favourite comments or moments?
Stephanie Kaduck: Visitors of all ages were interested in this project. Some seniors remembered soddies from when they were children.
The children were able to get a sense of the physical work required to build a soddy. What I enjoyed most was the pride that the students took in their work! They were very excited and focused. Their pride was palpable, and is something that I will seek to generate in future programs. I also enjoyed the brief journey into natural history, when the kids discovered that there were worms in the bricks! The city workers who delivered the sod came back to check out the finished product and it was great to discuss the building process with them.