Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Willowbrook History Museum

I am on a Yahoo group for homeschoolers in my state. An announcement came through a month or so ago for field trips to this history museum. It's called Willowbrook. It looked VERY cool so I inquired. They opened up a few days prior to their opening weekend (Memorial Day weekend) for school trips & homeschoolers. Even though it was going to be a three hour drive, it looked like it would really be worth it. I was able to get five families together to go. That ended up being eight kids & six adults. It was neat to have it all to ourselves as well.

We had two guides. One was a 13-year-old homeschooled girl. We started out in the Dr. Isaac Morton home. They have some rooms set up simply to show off the neat artifacts they have. It was the real house he & his family lived in. It was really neat to walk through & see everything & find out about the different things that they did & used.

I found it interesting in the kitchen. They had a wood burning cook stove - I grew up with my Mom using a similar one. There was a hand pump in to a slate sink in the kitchen. We had that too but my dad installed indoor plumping so the pump left but we kept the slate sink. The woman of the house had to bake all her own bread - great up with my mom doing the same. It was neat to see the similarities.

From there we headed to the schoolhouse. It was a replicate built of the original as it had been in disrepair & I think they said it burned down or was torn down. They had done a really good job of making it look like the original aside from a few minor things - such as where the door had been located & there was no trap door in the floor either. Our guide, Sherry (the adult with us), shared a story of a girl who had been caught punching her younger sister on the playground. The next day she did it again so the teacher put her down the trap door under the building as punishment. Her father wasn't happy with the punishment but there wasn't anything he could do then. Imagine if this happened now!!!!

My friend's son volunteered to show how they would have been punished back then!
Don't worry - she didn't really hit him.

We then went over to check out another building. We only looked at the toy display they had there. However, they had THE coolest doll house I'd ever seen and I was never really in to doll houses growing up. The entire roof was hinged & had some neat things in the attic space including a swing. My boys were all about the train that was up on the wall. This is when my digital camera decided to die.....

Before heading in to the above building, the kids stayed on the porch (it rained our whole time there) to try out some games from the past. Of the eight kids we had along on the trip, only one was a girl! She tried tossing a small hoop with two sticks back & forth. All the boys tried rolling a hoop. I can't remember what it's called now but they all did relatively well.

My friend took my camera & snapped some shots of me helping J.

From here we headed to the student store for lunch. After lunch was over we all shopped. They had some toys for the kids to buy. Some were replications of toys from that era. Others were just simple toys. Then they had a whole candy section. I think the cheapest was $0.05. I gave my boys $2 each & let them have at it. They did pretty well overall & didn't overdo on candy which was great!

After that we headed across the area to check out the steam carousel. That was really neat. It was donated to the museum in the 1970's & took about 12 years to completely refinish. They didn't allow the kids to ride on it & they apparently only allow people to ride a few times a year. They did turn it on so we could watch. WOW - it really moves! It's way faster than modern day carousels. I found it interesting that it was considered an ADULT past time & not for children. In fact, when the owners finally decided to no longer bring it around to the various fairs, their son was ten. They decided he was too young to ride it. After he donated it to the museum & they had refinished it, he was able to come & rode on every single horse. :-) Oh & they did have horses on the inside which were slightly smaller & had side-saddles on them.

Our guide remarked that we liked to take photos. HAH! If she only knew! LOL Along on the field trip were my sister & another good friend. The three of us spend one day a month scrapbooking. We were the only three who remembered our cameras & we made GOOD use of them! :-)

From here we headed over to the blacksmith shop. This is an actual working shop & they have blacksmiths who come in over the summer when they are regularly open to work in there & show people how it works. It was really interesting to check that out.

At this point J was starting to get tired. If we had continued, he most likely would have fallen asleep in my arms. He only napped for about 20 minutes, right before we arrived of course, out of the three hour drive to get there! However, he did sleep more of the trip home as did his brothers which made for a nice drive.

On the way back we stopped to visit Daddy. He works an hour from home & it was right on the way. We don't get to do this often due to the ride so it's a treat for him & the boys.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like GREAT FUN! Love those educational experiences.


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