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Traveling with Children: Day 9 of 27 days in a green tin can with 9 children–Lexington, MA

National Heritage Museum in LexingtonFriday, Day 9,

We took a little down time this morning to do more laundry, clean out the van, and catch up on internet and business as well as catch our breath from yesterday’s drive.

We drove out to Lexington, MA (place of “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World”) for an afternoon at the National Heritage Museum.  Here we visited the exhibit that reviewed the Revolutionary War period in the Boston area.  We were reminded that there were several riders the night of Paul Revere’s famous ride, and I couldn’t help but think of  Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point, where he discussed “Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen”.  In this part of the book he theorized why Paul Revere is remembered for his ride, while Richard Dawes and others rode as well, without the same ‘impact’.

His theory is that Paul Revere was a “connector”, who was known, recognized, and respected, and his word carried weight, and that the other riders were not as convincing or inspiring as individuals.  He may be absolutely correct, but I couldn’t help but wonder as I read some of the historical accounts, how much of what we are told today had to do with chance–perhaps somewhere many, many years ago someone in the old Houghton-Mifflin textbook company only had a limited space in the book to present the information, and took a liking to his name in particular.

It is funny to think of things like that, but in studying history with the children, we also learned that while Abraham Lincoln today is considered one of the greatest Presidents of our country, historical documents indicate he was nearly universally despised by everyone for various reasons during his Presidency.  That is not to say what he did wasn’t incredible and necessary, but how perspectives change over time.  It also makes you wonder who really gets to ‘write history’, how many times does ‘historical opinion’ change and become transmuted over time, and how much ‘spin’ gets woven into the history books.  Just random musing….

National Heritage Museum in Lexington, MAAnyway, this location also had a Muppet Museum which seemed more interesting to the children than the first exhibit, so we also learned about Jim Henson.  Then we took a drive around Lexington and Battle Green, and then headed back to Wilmington, MA to play with cousins and spend time with family.

TIPS:

1. Plan and allow for downtime, or a slower day just to let the kids play and you relax or catch up with organizing all the stuff.

2. At the museum, let the kids collect some of those free pamphlets that are available.  You can use these as memoirs or use them to cut out pictures to make a journal of the trip.

3. Do not expect too much from the children in museums, or get dissappointed if they are not engaged in every aspect.  Point out the highlights as you go along, asking them what they like best, etc.

4. Pretending is a great way to engage children in a museum, have them pretend like they are characters from the era or painters or someone related to the museum. 

5.  Another great way to engage older children is to let them take pictures, if the museum allows.  Tell them to take pictures that are significant and relevant.  This helps them to participate and think more about what is occuring.

6. AND, check to see if the museum has a Junior Ranger Program, or something special for kids.  Lots of them have activity sheets for kids or other ways to engage the children.  This museum had a children’s story book written just for the museum and you read it aloud to the kids with each page correlating to each room/exhibit in the museum.  You can also check online before you go, sometimes they have print-outs that you can print and take along.

7. Unrelated: Carry some Fabreeze or some other car/carpet freshener in the car – sure helps, if you happen to have 11 people road tripping in a big, green tin can!.

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