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Spring brings fun activities at museum

Naper Settlement focuses on nature

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NAPERVILLE – As spring nears, Naper Settlement is gearing up to welcome warmer weather.

This outdoor museum will start off March with a new offering, School’s Day Out. The program is called “Every Day Is Earth Day.” From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 1, students in first through fifth grades will be taught respect for the environment. They’ll work with everyday items to find out how to reuse, reduce, and recycle items into artwork and decorations.

The kids will have a chance to make their own version of the museum’s rain gardens to clean water. The activities will continue with creating a notebook from recycled materials and a Soil Sammy as a take-home project. Reservations are needed.

Another family event at Naper Settlement is Maple Sugaring Days, which run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 9 and 10. The entire family can take part in the collecting of sap.

Those participating will see how the area’s settlers tapped maple trees for the sap and created maple syrup. Historic buildings will be open, and visitors will get to taste a maple treat. They also will do hands-on activities, such as using an old-fashioned drill, tapping spout, and yoke to carry buckets. But that is not all, guests can join in the dancing and music demonstrations, and will take home maple syrup recipes to try. There is a charge to attend.

March 10 will be a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts. Betsey Means of WomanLore will take on the role of Juliette Gordon Low, Girl Scout founder. The show will be from 4 to 5 p.m. This is part of the History Speaks Lecture Series. Civil War diarist Mary Chesnut will be featured in the next one on April 14. Tickets are available at the event or in advance.

While it might seem summer is a long way off, at Naper Settlement the time to sign up for Camp Naper, a summer camp, is now. Campers will explore the museum campus, and jump into history, science and math. The camps will be 1-day, 2-day, 3-day and weeklong learning adventures for first- through eighth-grade students.

Visitors do not have to take part in special programs to appreciate Naper Settlement. The summer season starts in April, when costumed staff bring the 19th century to life. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays in March, but there is no access to the building interiors, other than the visitors center complex.

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