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History Lessons

Home & Garden Television has made its reputation as the favorite channel of home-decorating and remodeling enthusiasts. But now the cable outlet is hoping to get students excited about historic preservation by offering free instructional materials and accompanying videotapes of shows to teachers and schools.

The popular channel launched its "Restore America" series last year to highlight efforts to restore important houses and other buildings across the country. They've tapped celebrities such as home-renovation expert Bob Vila, TV anchor Bryant Gumbel, and actress Kathy Ireland to publicize the movement.

Students need to learn the history and importance of such places in their own states and towns, which will promote civic pride and foster an appreciation for history and architecture, according to HGTV.

The cable channel is partnering with the Washington-based National Trust for Historic Preservation to present the series. The classroom materials are distributed through the Cable in the Classroom program.

HGTV worked with Cable in the Classroom and a master teacher to prepare the lesson plans, which target both elementary and secondary grades.

Some of the shows have featured, for instance, Ebenezer Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr. preached and held many important civil rights meetings; the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco, which is the oldest public conservatory in the Western Hemisphere and holds a rare collection of plants; the Bodie Island lighthouse on the Outer Banks of North Carolina; and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City.

Anne Smith, a spokeswoman for HGTV, said many teachers were impressed that the materials were free. The shows do not contain commercials.

For more information or to request materials, e-mail Judy Green at [email protected].

—Joetta L. Sack

Vol. 23, Issue 16, Page 3

Published in Print: January 7, 2004, as Take Note

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