Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Booker T. Washington National Monument in Virginia

On our drive back to Arkansas, one of our stops was Hardy, Virginia where the Booker T. Washington National Monument is located.

We prefaced this visit by reading Booker T. Washington by Lola M. Schaefer. There were several similar books at our library; I chose this one because it seemed to be geared to the youngest audience. It also felt appropriate to learn about Washington and his life because we had already visited Gettysburg during this trip, and the discussion of the Civil War and slavery was already underway.

We found worksheets (crossword puzzles, word searches, etc.) and a nice youtube video about Washington on this site.

We enjoyed our visit! We didn't have a lot of time on our drive back, and we wanted to choose rest stops that were easy, fun, educational, and allowed the kids to run around a little bit. Hardy was about 30 minutes (I think!) from interstate 81.

There are several sculptures and exhibits with information to read. The ladies who worked in the museum were sooo nice and helpful. They were very friendly and gracious in offering us information and answering our questions. There was a nice gift shop full of books and learning materials about African American history.

Since Tornado loves comic books, we picked out this book, Wonder Women. You can read more about Chester Comix here; I'm sure we'll end up getting more of these.

We began our visit with watching a video presentation on Washington and his life. I just love these videos at visitor's centers. I always find them interesting. I think the kids like them, too, because they watch them intently, without making a peep. They also enjoyed looking at this 3-dimensional story board.

The museum is located on the original Burroughs family planation. James Burrough owned the 207 acre tobacco farm. Above is a replica of the building that served as the kitchen and home to the plantation cook and her children, one of whom was little Booker. You are able to step inside the 19th century replica farm buildings and get a feel of what life was like for the young slave and his family.

Our most notable impression was just how cooold it was inside this house. We watched on the video that Booker slept with blankets on the floor, and the windows didn't even fully close. It just made me feel so sad inside.

This the Burroughs family home (which is no longer standing). Washington recalls a Union Soldier standing on the porch reading what he later came to know as the Emancipation Proclamation. After reading it, he told them they were free, and Washington traveled with his mother and siblings to West Virginia where her husband worked in the salt mines.

There is a lot of space to run and things to explore!
There were farm animals on the property (to help create the mood of a real, working farm) and trails to help you tour the property more completely. We didn't have time to walk the trails, but we would love to stop by again sometime when we're "in the neighborhood." We really enjoyed Virginia, and there was so much we were unable to take advantage of.

I always love seeing what everyone else is up to.


Debbie said...

What a great experience for your entire family! Isn't hands on life history the best! Thank you for linking up this week I am glad to have you join us.

Christy said...

That sounds like a great place to visit!

Phyllis said...

That looks like a great field trip!

Discovering Montessori said...

Wonderful! I am going to put this on my must places to visit. A lot of living history. Thank you for the tour and for sharing.