Friday, November 6, 2015

Living History

   Today we went to Plimoth Plantation and ended up having a fun day.  I find that history is one of the hardest subjects for me to teach since all my boys complain that it's boring.  We have found that history field trips help bring history to life so it's not so boring.  We went with friends, which always makes it better and at the last minute my husband decided to join us too.  It was very busy today and at first I really wasn't sure we were going to have a good day.  There were kids running everywhere; including my own!  We ended up hanging back for a bit and really took our time so we soon had a bit more space and one on one time with the people working there.  Once we got to talk to everyone and ask questions our day improved tremendously.


    We got to see a mini replica of a Wampanoag site.  They were making a boat called a mishoon and the man explained that it would have taken 5 days of burning for 24 hours straight to make one boat.  They even used fire to cut the tree down since they didn't have anything like a saw.   The kids got to pretend they were boating in a mishoon and learned how the tree sap naturally made a water seal.  Alec asked a lot of questions-- everywhere we went all day.  He was particularly interested in why they kept their boats frozen under the water in winter to keep them from drying out.


To make a mishoon they burn and scrape out the interior of the log

watching them get a good fire going 

Mishoons are kept IN the water 

These two ladies were eating some wild turkey soup and some cranberry bread that they made.
They talked about hunting, preparing foods, and how they would have gotten metal pots by trading
with the English 

A thatched hut 

Relaxing inside a long house 

    Our next stop was inside the craft center.  Alec started by asking the potter the difference between the two clays that were out on the table.  He asked about weighing the clay and why they wedged the clay.  Ian asked how they get the pots so shiny and we were told about the various glazes used.  They watched them form a few pieces on the pottery wheel and expressed interest in learning how to do that themselves.  From there we moved onto the man making traditional Native American porcupine headdresses.  Alec had a whole bunch of questions for the man from how they dye the porcupine hair and how they get all the colors.  He asked why they have different styles of headdresses for different geographical tribes.  We learned about sinew, porcupines, how they trap/ skin and harvest the hairs. We learned that they used porcupine quills as beads in their jewelry before real beads were brought over from Europe for trading.  It was great!  All the kids were so attentive. 





   After lunch we headed into the English settlement.  Our first stop was the fort and meeting house.  The kids all had fun pretending to blast their enemies and keep the town safe.  We looked out over the settlement and to the water beyond.   We then headed into the village checking out a few of the houses, learning about thatched roofs, seeing the animals they had around on the farms and learning about foods and pies made from local materials.  We about when the apples and pears were brought over and a "new" fruit called a quince that turns a bright red when you cook it.



The English settlement 

Thatched roofs, wooden doors and even wooden
chimneys 

There were many rare farm animals grazing about the field;
the kids were particularly taken with the goats and the chickens. 

Checking out a saw pit; we got to see how they cut their own lumber

We noticed the lack of nails and screws and how they
held things together 

There were a few bulls/oxen around as well 

Learning about pies, fruits, and the importance of archaeological digs
and findings.  They know that many clay cups and pitcher used by the
people in the 1600's were in fact true pints and quarts 

Alec recapping what he learned during the day at
our family "town" meeting 

  We ended our day with another quick trip through the Wampanoag site and the animal barns.  Alec saw someone sewing a little pouch together and stopped to ask what she was doing and why.  We all talked with her for a bit and learned about her jewelry, native american beliefs, why the purple wampum was so popular with the settlers and even about her walking stick with the story carved into it.


The boys also worked on map skills. 

Learning about indigenous and imported animals and plants 

 petting some endangered farm animals 

check out the long tails on these sheep! 

5 comments :

  1. Awesome! My kids like history almost as much as science. That is a real good thing, since I am a history addict. I would love to go there some day. That is an awesome living museum.
    Blessings, Dawn

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    1. I wish my kids enjoyed history as much as science it would make life so much easier. But this was a really wonderful museum. I wasn't sure it was going to be worth the loooong drive but it was.

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  2. What a fun place to visit! The best way to learn about history is to experience it! My daughter is fascinated with Indians right now. She would love that!

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    1. We have a lot of living history museums around us and quite a few dedicated to just Native Americans. But I totally agree that the best way to learn history is to experience it!

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  3. What a fun place to visit! The best way to learn about history is to experience it! My daughter is fascinated with Indians right now. She would love that!

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