During the 2015-2016 school year, adult volunteers worked within the Winterset Community School District. Teaming with 7th grade Social Studies teacher, Jim Heithoff, these volunteers contributed local Underground Railroad information and instructed interested students on the general skills needed for historic research.

Student - Jim Linda media center
Teacher Jim Heitoff with volunteer and student

Comments by Mr. Heithoff

“Every year our 7th grade students participate in the National History Day program to help develop historical research skills and a love for history. This year Linda Smith, Brenda Hollingsworth and Jared McDonald worked with several of our students on their projects about the Underground Railroad.”

“Our students attended a full-day local Underground Railroad conference as part of the Preserve Iowa Summit held in June, 2015. During the school year, the volunteers provided a presentation and exercise in our classroomStudent and Linda Smith meeting in Jr. High Media Center during their lunch period.  Later, the students attended a research workshop at the Madison Country Historical Complex where they learned to research in Madison County’s history books, view local newspapers online, and use the Madison County genealogical website. The students also enjoyed working with this team during their study halls – learning to read plat maps and locating a major route that the Freedom Seekers (fugitive slaves) took through Madison County. In addition, the team is planning a bus tour for the students to a portion of the route that the students previously mapped.  They will have the opportunity to walk in the same steps taken by the courageous people they learned about on this journey.”

“For me as a teacher, it has been a pleasure to work with this team. They truly are dedicated to bringing the history of Madison County and the Underground Railroad alive for our students and have played a key part in helping these students achieve the goals of developing excellent historical research skills and, most importantly, a love for history!”

How may we help you?

Please contact us if you are a teacher or school administrator within Madison County and would like information on how we could integrate Madison County history, including the Underground Railroad, into your classroom.

Media Coverage

Winterset Madisonian Article: Local Students learn about Underground RR

The Winterset Citizen Blog post: Weekend in Winterset, Oct. 14-16