Reddit | innuendoPL

School Renovations Uncover Perfectly Preserved Chalkboards From 1917

Growing up, there wasn't usually much reason for anyone who wasn't taking notes to pay much attention to the chalkboard.

If the teacher wasn't writing something on it that was directly related to the lesson, it was probably the name of some kid who behaved badly enough to stay inside at recess. Bonus points if that kid earned this punishment for messing around with the chalk erasers.

But of course, that's likely been true for as long as schools have been set up the way they are. So, we can only imagine how interested someone 100 years into the future would be if they made a similar discovery to construction workers at one Oklahoma school.

Those in charge of Emerson High School in Oklahoma City took an opportunity afforded by the summer break to renovate the building.

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As NPR reported, the school had been around since the 1890s and construction crews received an incredible reminder of this fact when they were taking out some old chalkboards.

As they were working, the crew discovered some even older chalkboards that spent almost 100 years hidden and forgotten.

Reddit | tighttummies

Although it appeared to contain information relevant to lesson plans at the time, it also featured some large drawings like this.

It soon became apparent that this was because the class had recently celebrated Thanksgiving.

Reddit | Darkangel1979

As the board helpfully revealed, the Thanksgiving just before the old boards were covered with new ones was all the way back in 1917.

As math teacher Sherry Read told NPR, "It's like touching history, like being a part of what was going on during the day. It's just remarkable and mysterious, trying to figure out what some of this was."

One of those mysterious chalk writings is a multiplication wheel with factors on the inside and other numbers on the outside.

Reddit | marfalump

It either shows how different teaching techniques were back then or it's a 100-year echo of one particular teacher's style because nobody can figure out how it was meant to be used.

I guess you had to be there.

The board also included this modified pledge of allegiance, as well as music and civics lessons, and rules for keeping clean.

Reddit | tighttummies

A list of students' names was also featured on the board, but Read said she isn't sure whether this was done to highlight good or bad behavior.

Also included was a vocabulary list that featured words like "blunder" and "choke."

Reddit | Ayatollah_Bahloni

Interestingly, the word "whoa" was included on this list. This wasn't because the teacher was totally radical, but rather because horses and buggies were still a common way to get around back then.

The part that stands out the most, however, is this drawing of a little girl feeding a turkey that was believed to be done by a teacher.

Reddit | innuendoPL

The ease of wiping away such a drawing makes it all the more incredible that this chalkboard was so well-preserved, but it also increases the urgency of ensuring it stays well-preserved.

And right now, school officials are scrambling to figure out how to do that.

Although Jeff Briley of the Oklahoma Historical Society recommended protecting the board with acrylic glass and controlling the temperature and light, there's still one major issue.

Reddit | KevinJD

As he put it, "Chalk on a blackboard is not meant as a permanent media at all," which means this one is too fragile to move.

Briley said it's possible to keep what's written on it preserved for another 100 years under the right conditions, but those conditions will somehow have to involve leaving it where it is.

h/t: NPR

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