“Their faces were worth a thousand words,” said Stewart, who has expanded the writing exercise from her family’s war mementos to artifacts from Norwich’s own Sullivan Museum and History Center. “They handled [each object] like it was a diamond.”
The project began at Stewart’s family home in Manchester, Mass., where she stumbled upon a box of medals her father and grandfather gathered during their services in two world wars. Little was known about the collection, although her father had served in the Army’s medical corps in Hungary, Czechoslovakia and France, and spoke of treating prisoners of war. He may have traded for artifacts or received them as gifts.
“I said, the students of Norwich would really like to see this,” said Stewart.
In writing, students went in drastically different directions, she said. Some examined their own responses, while others painstakingly researched the objects. Stewart said she empathizes with many students’ feelings of being “freaked out” by the contents of the box.continue