An illuminating visit to Hearthstone Historic House
In July, students participating in the Kings Accelerated Summer Program at University of Wisconsin–Fox Valley traveled to Hearthstone Historic House Museum. The house is known for being the first private residence in the world to be illuminated using hydroelectricity from Thomas Edison's central system. Electric light first flooded Hearthstone on September 30, 1882, making the home legendary.
Today Hearthstone is a historical landmark. The house still contains the original Edison electioneers and original light switches. Although the lights seem dim in comparison with today’s lights, back in the day the home was considered one of the brightest in the world. Having a chance to see the lightbulbs was considered a novelty.
During the visit, students enjoyed learning about what it was like living in the Victorian era. From the floor to ceiling woodwork in the entryway to the wood-fired oven in the kitchen, walking through Hearthstone was like stepping back in time. It was fascinating learning about the culture and etiquette of the time.
Students also learned about hydroelectricity and how it powered the Hearthstone home. At the end of the guided tour, students participated in an interactive exhibit where they used hydroelectric simulations to control the electric current in a model town. Students were also able to ride a high wheeler bicycle and play a pump organ.
The visit to Hearthstone Historic House Museum was part of the Kings Accelerated Summer Program. Students participating the program earn credits during summer break while learning about the US higher education system, exploring local culture and history, and receiving academic support.