Every year, about 3,000 school children tour the Delaware County Historical Society's Nash House Museum and Library at 157 E. William St.

Every year, about 3,000 school children tour the Delaware County Historical Society's Nash House Museum and Library at 157 E. William St.

When giving tours, society librarian Sandy Wicker said she likes to give the students a then-and-now perspective, "putting things into their concept so they can connect them."

"We have books with a book strap like 'Little House on the Prairie' that I tell them was the original backpack. You had to start (inventions) somewhere. There had to be a number one," Wicker said.

The students also learn the phonograph was the original iPod.

"It definitely is, because you had portable music that way," she said.

A folding lap-desk from the early 1800s, shown in the men's study, is compared to today's laptop computer.

"It's the forerunner to the laptop computer because you did your work on it and carried your work in it," Wicker said.

Students love the old 1928 GE Monitor refrigerator, one of the first pieces students see on entering the museum. The motor on the top of it looks like a cheese box and the appliance was named after the USS Monitor warship that was called a "cheese box on a raft," Wicker said.

"They like the lady's spittoon that's upstairs. You would not know it's a spittoon. It's a little square thing with a handle that you push and the lid comes up and the ladies could spit discreetly. The ladies used snuff -- ground up tobacco -- under their lip," she said.

Learning that the bathroom was a chamber pot always gets an "ee-ew" out of the children, Wicker said.

"And I say, "Well double ee-ew because you kids would have had to clean the chamber pot and the spittoon back then,'" she said, which makes cleaning one's room look like a delightful task.

Another favorite attraction is a doll house made in 1860 that's in the children's room. It has the original furniture and is in pristine condition, she said.

Wicker's favorite part of the Nash House is the upstairs bedroom, which reminds her of her grandmother's bedroom.

"That's where the human-hair wreath is," she said.

Making crafts and decorations from one's hair was a big fad in the 1880s. Craft books on how to make wreaths and flowers out of human hair were sold, Wicker said.

The wreath is another item that draws an "ee-ew" from the children.

Wicker is concerned that students today don't learn cursive handwriting at the level they once did, because it might hinder their ability to read old records.

More than 500 people visit the society and museum each year outside of the school tours she said, though their interests tend to differ.

"This summer, we had several authors asking for historical information for their books. And people come in and want to know about the history of their property and if they live in a historic house. Or they want to know what happened in the part of the county they live in. It's just fascinating," she said.

The house was built in 1878. In 1990 the house, furniture and many of the museum's items were donated to the society by Pauline Nash.

The society recently acquired the house and two barns dating to 1812, in which Garth's Auction House had been doing business at U.S. Route 23 and Stratford Road. Plans for those buildings are developing.

Tours of the Nash House Museum and Library are free. The society is funded with membership fees, fundraising and a grant from Delaware County.

Winter hours for the facility are 10 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m. Wednesdays and 2-5 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call the society at (740) 369-3831 or visit www.delawareohiohistory.org.