Saturday, August 15, 2009

Summer of History Part 1

I did not particularly like history as a subject in school. It always seemed so dry and rote. Each day was just a walk down the time line with a lot of names and numbers to remember. I did have an American history teacher in high school, though, who loved a good conspiracy theory. My dad is an avid student of history from wars to his own genealogy.

Perhaps this is how I became fascinated with the fact that history involves the lives of countless people each with their own unique stories to tell. Realizing that God is the One who is working in it all gives profound meaning to the story of mankind.

That being said, I love showing my kids history upfront and personal. I teach them history from a textbook, but trust me, it is much more exciting when we get to interact with the information first hand! Here are some history highlights from our travels this summer. I think it reinforced what some had already learned while opening the eyes of those who are yet to study these parts of history.

Our first stop was Springfield, IL where Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer, established his family and served as a state representative.

The Lincoln home. The entire block has been preserved with houses to be toured. We even got to see where the Lincoln's favorite babysitter lived:)

Lincoln's desk where he wrote many of his famous speeches and wrote correspondence during the Civil War.

Campaigning in Lincoln's day.

The Lincoln boys' marbles. Makes me want to reconsider how quickly I throw out
toys sometimes.

The actual museum did not allow photography except for in two areas. The atrium and the kid's hands on area.

Us with the wax Lincolns. John is not quite sure what to make of his friend there.

Betsy, the butter churner

It was an amazing experience to walk through the exhibit of Lincoln's life. It began in
a replica of the log cabin and ended at his funeral. Everything was replicated to a tee. It made us feel like we were really there.

In addition there were several special effect movies and a play that explained clearly the history of the civil war and some of the artifacts in the Lincoln Presidential Library. Presidential Libraries house books, of course, but they are also a private museums for any artifact related to that President's life. Incredible.

My favorites: Seeing Abe's hat (behind glass, of course), looking into his shaving mirror and being able to touch the casts made of his face at the beginning of his Presidency and at the end. There was a clear change in his countenance.

I was also struck by the personal tragedy that Lincoln faced in the midst of our country's greatest trial. I have always been fascinated by Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd, as she has often been depicted as a crazy woman. The exhibit was an honor to them both and their sacrifice for our country.


Sniz said...

Wow, the way you describe this place sounds amazing! How long of a drive is it from here?

Oh, also, is Hannah at Kingsway this year?

Wil has a World History teacher that he loves. That makes such a difference.

Monica said...

It is about 3 hours straight west of here- not too bad.

This is Hannah's last year at home. Kingsway for 8th grade.