Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pioneer Museum

Last week we decided to take the boys on a field trip to one of the local Pioneer Museums. They've been to a museum before, but that would be the kind that was very hands on, not one where you look and don't touch. So I prepped them by informing them we were going to a museum that would have items to look at that Laura Ingalls would have used. I also made them fully aware that they weren't Laura's items because these were all from various places around Australia. Either way they were psyched. Jayden was holding out high hopes that he'd get to see a carriage. We've only learned about covered wagons and I was pretty sure he meant that, but he was quite insistent he meant a carriage. We had a lot of fun and spent the better half of two hours inside enjoying everything there was to see. We were also quite blessed to have the entire museum to ourselves for our entire trip! When you enter this museum you start way back by those barrels in the picture above. You get to peek into each of these doors and windows and oogle at all the stuff on display. 

This was also at the very start and Jayden was over joyed to see it. He was also slightly freaked out because the place was dimly lit with only street lights marking the path and then low light lamps in each store/house. There was also the occasional clippty clop sound of a horse coming down the street. I found that sound highly amusing and while the guys were all crossing the "street" I shouted, "Quick out of the road a horse is coming!!" Funniest part? They all ran to get up on a sidewalk..  You were not permitted to climb up in the carriage and it took great restraint to keep ourselves out. We did, however inspect every inch of it. We all thought the spot on the back to put their travel bags was quite funny because it appeared that at any bump they might lose their luggage. 

There were a great many windows and doors to peer in and so much stuff to see inside each room too. There was a magnificent old printing press. There were various old telephones each one slightly different then the last. An old photography studio that held Mr Scarecrow up for a very long time as he oogled all the slides, cameras, and flashes. It really was amazing! The old portrait camera was as big as Jayden is! There was even a room set up to look like an old cheese and butter making shop. It was quite fascinating, but poor Morgan came away from it screaming. You see, he walked ahead of us and peered in and came running back screaming that there was something gross and dead in it. 

(this was in the blacksmith's room, no label on it either. We felt it looked like a rather primitive exercise bike!)

Now, I know it's a museum but I had my doubts so I cautiously peer around the corner. Probably not a wise idea to watch something like NCIS before your child screams "There's something dead in there!" I peer in and low and behold there's an ox head on the wall. I became quite excited and said, "Oh look boys an ox! Can you believe it? This is like the animal that pulled the wagons west in America..." Jayden was willing to look and told us that he felt the eyes were creepy, Morgan however was diligent at looking anywhere but at the poor ox. 

The same museum also had a World War I & II display going on. It was a terribly sad room to walk through considering we all ready know how many lives were lost and everything else that those wars entailed. They even had a video playing about it, and Jayden, being who he is, sat down to watch it. Morgan stood there watching and turned away stating that, "it makes my heart beat too fast to watch." So he and I walked around the room looking at all the items on display. They had many of the older weapons, some of which were terrible to see. There was a journal, and a New Testament, and an amazingly beautiful beaded belt to admire. A few of the old uniforms and so on. Then we turned around and poor Morgan nearly passed out when he spotted an old style gasmask. Honestly, it was one of the most horrifying things in the entire room. He jotted it down in his journal as the scariest thing in the room, and he doesn't even know what it was used for..

The room also happened to have a room of toys on display, as well as the pelt from a Tasmanian Tiger. The pelt was amazing, if not a tad bizarre & sad to see. The room of toys blew the boys away. Morgan was truly taken by the old Monopoly game (pictured above) and the very old Mecano set. He was equally amazed to know that Poppy once had a set as did many of his uncles. I found the old toy sewing machine and, what must surely be, the very original Daring Books for Boys/Girls on display! Jayden was taken with the child sized phonograph player.

After touring the War rooms we climbed upstairs and saw a large collection of sewing machines, plugs, radios, pianos, organs and the likes. The above set of old headphones was found highly amusing in this day and age of ear buds.. It was really interesting to see just how far so many things have come. The boys were disappointed not to be able to play even one note on the piano, and I have to say it would have been interesting to hear.

We then toured the other side of the street in the Pioneer museum and on that side, amongst other things, happened to be an old dentist's office. Oh what pain and torture that appeared to be! Our dentist would be delighted to know we have a new found respect for her and her tools. The only thing more terrifying then the tools on display was the video playing. The poor women being worked on was squirming so badly in her chair that Jayden said, "I think he must be hurting her and she needs more medicine!" So true kiddo, so true.

They had two very old postoffice/train station style scales too. It was really fun for the boys to see these and Morgan was quick to make the connection between the scales on display and the Mailing May unit study we did. Jayden was itching to stand on one and see how much it would have cost for him to be shipped to Grandma Mary (he was really taken by that character in the book), and was highly put out when I said he wasn't allowed to take the barrels off to climb on himself! 

Lastly, on the way out there was a set of barrels outside the pub. We did a double take as I pointed out that the barrels there were exactly what Praiseworthy and Jack would have hidden in when their boat left the Boston port on it's way to California. Only, we pointed out that instead of whiskey and beer they would have had potatoes in them. The boys suddenly understood why the poor Butler felt so cramped. We really enjoyed ourselves and are looking forward to visiting the other pioneer museum that is also reasonably close to us next week!


Wendy said...

What a cool museum!!!

Tracey said...

This looks so cool! My kids would love to go to a place like this. I need to find one.