Our geography and history lessons and discussions continue to follow along the subjects that were initiated before and during our November vacation to the Northeast. I had really wanted to blog about our trip in chronological order (for our own memory keeping)...but I've ended up skipping around...and I have no idea why. I guess it's because I haven't had a lot of time to blog, and when I sit down to do it, I just sort of jump in on whatever strikes me at the time. Gettysburg was actually the first big part of our trip.
We bought this book in the Gettysburg Museum gift shop: The Gettysburg Address in Translation, What It Really Means by Kay Melchisedech Olson.
We had checked out several books for the library on the war, trying to find ones that were appropriate enough for a 10, 5, and 3 year old. The "If You..." series books are always a fun choice. We like these books because they don't have to be read all at once. Reading even just one question and answer sparks enough discussion to last for awhile.
I thought Gettysburg was a really cute town (seemingly out in the "middle of nowhere") with cute shops. I would have liked to have spent more time there, but we figured that the amount of time we did spend (arrived late to a hotel, then left around 3 the next day) was a good starting point with the kids. We'll go again when they're older and can appreciate it on another level. I think there would have been plenty for us to do had we stayed a few days.
I believe the new museum & visitor center has only been open for around two years. It replaced a much smaller building. This facility was definitely very nice, FULL of plenty to read and explore.
One amazing aspect of the museum is the Cyclorama, a "massive 360 degree "Battle of Gettysburg" painting" that circles a large room and measures 377 feet around and 42 feet high. The painting (first exhibited in 1884 and later restored) is so life-like that you can't really tell where the painting ends and the real objects (such as fake plant life or a fence or whatever) sitting on the floor begin. Different sections are lit up as you listen to narrative.
We also watched the movie in the museum, which tells the basic story of the battle. The information desk told us it was appropriate for children, and I "guess" it was. It was probably a little more graphic than I would have preferred for the kids, but they didn't seem bothered by it. I gave Sissy big hugs a couple of times to hide her face.
Gettysburg is obviously a great place to take kids. It introduces them to an important part of history...
It's funny how Ryan and I will sometimes analyze an event or place to visit, such as, "Will the kids even CARE about this?" And then we remember...WE want to go. It's not ALWAYS about what they want to do the most. Sometimes Mom and Dad get to spend time doing what they've always wanted to do, as well. The kids had a great day, though, too, so our concerns were unnecessary.
Oh, yeah...except Sissy did lose her patience before we were completely finished looking through the museum. She was tired and hungry and made sure we knew it...every 30 seconds. We ate sandwiches in the car from the cooler, then let her sleep while Ryan and I took turns getting out with the boys at statues and landmarks throughout the rest of the park.
For fun, the boys played with these little sticker books (that only cost about a $1.50).
They get to dress their Confederate soldier (clad only in red long underwear) in a choice of infantry private, cavalry captain, artillery major, or Tiger Zouave uniforms, including hats and weapons. The stickers are reusable so the outfits can be changed.
It's funny because Dash was not happy that there wasn't a Union soldier sticker book available.
Now I'm off to Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn to see what other families have been up to in Geography & History.