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Back You are here: Home Features Events and Features Life on the Island Back to School: Thousands of Fourth-Graders

Back to School: Thousands of Fourth-Graders

Honoring a tradition that began decades ago, the Burgwin-Wright House in Historic Downtown Wilmington will provide free tours for thousands of New Hanover County fourth-graders between August 28 and December 13. One of the oldest residences in Wilmington, the circa 1770 Burgwin-Wright House and its adjacent kitchen are fully furnished, offering these young students of American History a vivid experience of life in colonial Wilmington. To accommodate each fourth grade class in the county’s public schools, docents at the museum house will conduct two tours per day, three days each week, for a total of 82 tours. Burgwin-Wright House manager Jackie Margoles estimates that more than 35,000 local children have benefitted from this free program since its inception. One of those children – now a grown man – is currently the operations manager of the Burgwin-Wright House, Anthony Small. Small remembers the occasion like it was yesterday. “It definitely made a big impression,” Small says, but he never imagined that one day he would be working at the historic house that had fascinated him as a boy. Built on the foundation of a former city jail, the Burgwin-Wright House has a unique feature that youngsters find especially captivating: a dungeon that housed the worst criminals of its era, murderers and horse-thieves. School children also enjoy demonstrations of the “The Language of the Fan.”
The Burgwin-Wright House is owned by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of North Carolina, which restored the property in 1937. The museum house also serves as the headquarters for the NC Dames, whose mission is historic preservation, education and patriotic service.