One of our favorite places to go on field trips is the Maine State Museum. I like it because they let in teachers & homeschoolers for free. My younger boys like it because there is a train in there. B likes it because I count it as school whenever we go visit. And amazingly, we learn something new every single time.
This visit included some classes. One of the moms on the state homeschooling Yahoo group put together the trip for anyone who wanted to participate. I thought it would be a nice diversion from summer here in Maine (Have I mentioned how much it has been raining here lately? Well, if not, it has & that plays a roll later on in the day.)
We headed out on a beautiful sunny day (which we have not had many of so far this year) & drove about an hour to get there. We had about half and hour to explore a bit & then the first class started. My three boys took an arrowhead making class and it was very cool.
Here is the cart of tools she brought out. The instructor set this up right in the hallway near the area that talks about stone tools. Those are real antlers that will be used in the making of the arrowheads. The children picked between either flint or rhyolite.
The instructor demonstrated the technique:
And then the kids got right down on the floor & set to work making either an arrowhead or a scraper or a knife. My boys all attempted arrowheads as did I since I was helping J work on his.
One had to hold one side so the piece of flint wouldn’t move. Then one had to take the antler & grind off tiny pieces off the side. Very tiny pieces. If you try to do too much at once, it may break off & hurt you/cut you. The instructor had a very large box of Band-Aids on her cart just for this purpose. I almost needed one – seriously.
After we were done here we had a bit more time to wander the museum’s first (well, technically third floor) floor a bit. Then we had a guided tour of the “Made in Maine” exhibit (which had me slightly confused as I thought we were getting a tour of the “At Home in Maine” exhibit). Made in Maine is an exhibit that discusses all the different industries that were in Maine from factories to manufacturing. It was very neat to have a tour of this as we typically wonder around a bit on our own.
We did some on our own wondering and we always have fun checking out the “Back to Nature” exhibit. My boys even picked up on some additions to some of the exhibits.
We had about an hour break for lunch & since it was such a beautiful day we decided to walk across the street to Capital Park. Friends that live down the street from my Dad joined us & that was especially nice so I don’t see them often at all. We headed out & spied a picnic table far across the way so we decided to cut across the wide lawn expanse instead of staying on the path. Um, big mistake. Remember all that rain? The ground was muddy & very wet. We all got wet & yucky before we finally managed to make it to a picnic table.
Of course, the boys (and yes, of the three moms sitting there & chatting we had ALL boys – six total – between us) started to run & play nearby after they were down eating. Within 10 minutes I heard J fall (ker-SPLAT) and start to cry. He was pretty well covered in mud. That was when I made the executive decision to head home after were were done eating rather than stay for the second class after lunch. I felt it best to get J into the truck & hopefully asleep for the ride home.
We did stop by the gift shop which is something I never do. I allowed each boy to buy an arrow head necklace. I also purchased a book on The Lion train that is housed in the museum plus a pinhole camera kit. I’ll be teaching a course of photography this fall for a few children in our homeschool group & I thought it might make a fun addition.
All in all it was a fun day. We had a great time at our favorite museum. We learned something new. We got muddy. We had fun with friends. And it was sunny. Really, could one ask for more than that?