Heritage Studies Scavenger Hunt in Plymouth

July 14th, 2006 by Adam

Where in downtown Plymouth is a Works Progress Administration mural? What kind of store was Samaha’s when it first opened? Where is the old courthouse in which Daniel Webster is supposed to have argued his first case, and what happened to his client?

Has anyone asked you these questions lately? If so, you were probably talking to a Plymouth State University graduate student on a scavenger hunt for Assistant Professor Marcia Schmidt Blaine’s Heritage Studies Foundations class.

Blaine says she devised the scavenger hunt as a way for students in the M.Ed. in Heritage Studies program to get to know Plymouth better. The class is using the Plymouth area and its history as a focal point for learning heritage studies, a multi-disciplinary approach involving history, archeology and social science. The scavenger hunt was especially useful for students like Jessica McKenny, who moved to Tilton in 2001 from Ohio.

Larry Keniston was on the Plymouth Common trying to determine when the Bullfinch Bandstand was built when he met Ross Deachman, local attorney and history buff. Deachman proved so knowledgeable, not only about the bandstand but about local history in general, that Keniston started to suspect that Deachman was a “plant” sent by Blaine. He wasn’t.

Dan LeBlanc and John Coughlin talked with Steve Rand, owner of Rand’s Hardware, and discovered that the store was founded by Rand’s grandfather, Albert Rand. Steve Rand explained that his grandfather came up with the idea of collecting such small items such as nails, tools, etc. into one place: the hardware store as we know it today.

For Ashley Frame, the value of the assignment was in going to many different places, meeting new people and expanding her own comfort zone. “I felt nervous going into Samaha’s and asking questions,” she says, but her scavenger hunt partner Shannon McCarty jumped right in with her questions and Frame soon felt more at ease.

The scavenger hunt, says Blaine, “ends up making connections between the town and the university, which I’ve enjoyed over the years.” She also does a scavenger hunt for undergraduate students in the fall.

The answers, by the way, are: the post office on Main Street; a general store—much like today; and the Historical Society building, although in a different location (the client was convicted).


Plymouth State University (PSU) is a regional comprehensive university offering a rich, student-focused learning environment for both undergraduate and graduate students. PSU offers 42 majors and 62 minors in programs that include education, business, humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences. The College of Graduate Studies offers coursework that promotes research, best practices and reflection in locations on- and off-campus as well as online. For non-traditional students, PSU’s Frost School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers working professionals opportunities to pursue an undergraduate degree by attending classes in the evenings, weekends and online. Located in a beautiful New England setting, Plymouth State University has been recognized as one of the “Best in the Northeast” by The Princeton Review.