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‘Hands-On’ History Lessons

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By Daniel Meyer

A unique approach to education that focuses on American Civil War history provides visitors to the Echoes Through Time Learning Center in the Village of Springville an opportunity to experience “hands-on” history programs that are both informative and entertaining.

Located at 39 East Main St. inside the “Union Block” building in the heart of the village’s central business district, the museum is dedicated to the preservation of American heritage and historical sites through the promotion of American history and our Civil War ancestors who served on either side of the conflict.

The museum is led by co-directors Steve Teeft and Thomas Place, longtime friends who both share a passion and devotion to the education and preservation of the Civil War era. Working with a dedicated group of volunteers, they use the Echoes Through Time Learning Center to help interpret, demonstrate and promote American history through a variety of historical and educational programs, demonstrations and discussions.

“We do a little bit of everything with a real focus on education, research and documenting our history,” said Teeft. “We have resources and a reference library and some great collections and exhibits that help promote and preserve our historical interest for hopefully many generations to come.”

Teeft and Place spent two decades serving as Civil War reenactment actors and have a countless number of hours under their belts studying and researching what was a very turbulent time period in our nation’s history. Both men enjoy sharing their knowledge with others through lectures, presentations and demonstrations that focus specifically on our nation’s Civil War historical battlefield sites.

“Our idea and approach to all of this is firmly focused on education and preservation,” said Place. “Our goal is to put on programs and make presentations to local schools, historical societies and other organizations in Western New York.”

The Echoes Through Time Learning Center is currently open every Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and every Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., with special hours on weekdays by appointment. Teeft, Place and other volunteers also are available to speak to interested groups and organizations, including those who may have a specific interest from the Civil War era.

“We have outstanding volunteers,” said Place. “Each one of them has a specialty and some incredible expertise and detailed knowledge that provides some tremendous insight and gives you a unique ‘hands-on’ history lesson that you really cannot find anywhere else.”

The volunteers at Echoes Through Time Learning Center pride themselves on giving back to the community by sharing their knowledge of the Civil War era with anyone interested in learning more about the history of the battle between the North and the South.

“We are not in this to make money,” said Place. “We want to remember our ancestors and share with others what we are so passionate about in the hopes they will do the same and pass it along, especially to the younger generations. We can’t allow our past to become a distant memory. Whatever we can do to keep it in the forefront of people’s minds is why we do what we do.”

Like most small museums, the center is always seeking additional volunteers to fill a wide variety of roles.

“You don’t even necessarily have to know a lot of the Civil War to be a volunteer,” said Place. “We want people who want to learn and may have a specific skill or knowledge and will be motivated to assist anyone looking to learn more about the Civil War era.”

For more information about the Echoes Through Time Learning Center, visit www.echoesthroughtime.com, search “Echoes Through Time Learning Center” on Facebook or call either (716) 957-2740 or (716) 870-0174.

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