IN FOCUS: "The Cat in the Hat" celebrates Read Across America03.06.2006
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — A group of school children sat quietly as they prepared to listen to a story in the Doak House Museum, but it was no typical story time as a whiskered face topped with a red-and-white hat suddenly peeked around the corner at the youngsters. A collective gasp and excited murmur filled the room as "The Cat in the Hat," one of Dr. Seuss' most beloved characters, made a special appearance during a Read Across America event at the museum on the Tusculum College campus.
The Doak House Museum hosted a pre-K class from Doak Elementary School for the celebration to honor Dr. Seuss' birthday and those who were educated at Tusculum Academy (which later became Tusculum College) on the grounds of Rev. Samuel Witherspoon Doak's home, which is now the museum. Doak School is one of the museum's partners.
After meeting their special visitor, the children listened and watched in delight as "The Cat in the Hat" was read by Larry Kelley, a professional storyteller and staff member of the museum, and acted out by the special feline guest, portrayed by Delina Hensley, Tusculum College Arts Outreach coordinator. After visiting briefly with the "Cat," the children headed to the Tusculum Academy building, where they decorated the tops and brims of red-striped hats and then listened as Jeannie Rademacher, a museum volunteer and adjunct professor at Tusculum, read Dr. Seuss' "Happy Birthday to You."
The youngsters headed back to the Doak House, where they were met by the Cat in the Hat and led to the kitchen for a treat. To celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday, the children sang "Happy Birthday," then enjoyed cupcakes and milk while they visited with the storybook character. The children received certificates for their participation in the celebration, and after giving Cat in the Hat some goodbye hugs, boarded their bus to return to school. Museum staff expressed appreciation to Arts Outreach and the museum volunteers for their assistance and support for the Read Across America event.
Read Across America was created in 1998 by the National Education Association to celebrate the joy of reading on March 2, Dr. Seuss' birthday, and has grown into a nationwide event that promotes reading. The special event is an example of the educational programs that the Doak House Museum hosts each year for school children. The museum hosted over 12,000 school children from East Tennessee last year for a variety of educational programs related to the 19th century and Character Counts.
The Doak House Museum and the President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library, located in the oldest academic building on campus, are administered by the Tusculum College Department of Museum Program and Studies under the direction of George Collins, director of Museum Program and Studies, and Cindy Lucas, associate director of the department and director of the Doak House Museum. The department also offers one of the few undergraduate degree programs in museum studies in the country. The museums are also two of the 10 structures that make up the Historical District on the Tusculum College campus.