On Saturday, September 21st, a group of six IRIS YES students visited the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in West Branch, Iowa. Students were given the opportunity to visit Herbert Hoover’s home and burial site. On the tour, they learned many interesting facts about the 31st President of the United States.
“President Hoover did many good things,” mused Nathan, a YES student from South Africa. “He just landed in a bad time when he got elected, and had to deal with the Great Depression.”
“He was a great man,” agreed Meherunnessa, or “Limi,” a Bangladeshi YES student.
Although all the students were impressed by President Hoover, many were more intrigued by what they learned about First Lady Lou Hoover. A photograph of Mrs. Hoover carrying a pistol, or the information that she was proficient with the bow and arrow, shocked many.
At the time of the students’ visit to the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, a Civil War exhibit was on display. Students were able to view Civil War era military uniforms, and learned how military bands played music to issue marching orders. The exhibit presented information to the students about many horrors that soldiers faced during The War Between the States, including outbreaks of diseases and routine amputations in battlefield surgery.
Slavery and its abolishment, the cotton gin, and the Underground Railroad were significant pieces in the exhibit. Shackles, photographs of maltreated slaves, and descriptions of their living conditions horrified the students.
“It is really pathetic how the slaves were restrained, the hardship they faced, and all the crisis,” explained Emmanuella, a Nigerian YES student. “Seeing it in pictures made it more realistic and made me understand it better. The whole activity was educating and fun.”
By the end of the day, students were more informed about the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln, slavery, the American Civil War, the 13th Amendment, and of course, the presidency of Herbert Hoover. While all of IRIS’s YES students are required to take one semester of U.S. History or U.S. Government, visits to historic locations often bring this new information to life.
Jaya, an Indonesian YES student, explained that her highlights of the day included learning about President Lincoln, cotton, and slavery in the U.S. “The Lincoln part was so interesting, because he was one of the best U.S. presidents ever. And about cotton and slaves, it is just fun and interesting to know [more about] U.S. history”
“In the beginning I thought that it would be boring, but they were showing everything in the museum, and it was getting interesting,” said Sibel, a YES student from Turkey. “We learned lots of things about American history. We got so much information and got a chance to see each other. It was so much fun and interesting.”