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History Lives

At living history museums you can see real people doing the work of blacksmiths, tin workers, shoemakers, farmers, and others. Children can see how things work, and can ask questions of the "characters."

What you'll need:
Visitor brochure and museum map
Sketch pad and pencils, or camera
History log

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What to do:

  1. Awaken your children's expectations of what they will see and what to look for. Write or call the museum ahead of time to obtain information brochures and a map. Living history museums are located in Williamsburg, VA and Old Sturbridge Village, MA, among other places.

  2. Plan how to actually "visit history." Pretend to be a family living in the historical place. What would it be like to be a family living in the place you choose to go?

  3. When you visit the museum, ask your child what his favorite object or activity is, and why.

  4. Help your children sketch something in the museum, and put it in the history log. Tell your children that this is the way history was visually recorded before there were cameras.

  5. Use your camera, if you have one, to make a "modern day" record of history, and create a scrapbook with the photographs of what you saw.

  6. When you get home, talk about what it would have been like to live in that historical place in that period of time. Compare this to the image you had before your visit.

Questions to ask:
How were days spent in the period of time you experienced? What kind of dress was common, or special? What kinds of food did people usually eat, and did they eat alone or in groups? What kind of work would you have chosen to do as an adult? If a living history museum were made of the late 20th century, what would people see and learn there? Reminder: if you can't visit a museum, travel by reading books.

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