Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Atlanta History Center

I love museums and always have.  I have very fond memories of touring the museums in Europe by myself before I had children.  I got to go at my own pace: not rushing past something I want to read or sitting around waiting for someone else to read something.  It was so self-indulgent.  I loved learning how European countries, through their museums, presented historical events from a different perspective.  But alas, the days of Victoria-paced museum time are gone. 

I now chase two little girls through museums, trying to keep my eyes on both of them and their hands and bodies off exhibits that are not "touchable."  Thankfully, my girls love museums.  The element of exploration and discovery excites them.  They frequently squeal and run around from exhibit to exhibit. 

Since we have been home schooling, we have been to a lot of museums.  They have learned that the words next to the exhibits describe the exhibit.  Catherine will read the titles of some of those placards, while Sabrina pretends to read the placards.

Today we went to the Atlanta History Center, a first for my kids.  Museums now do a great job with "immersive" experiences.  The girls would not stand next to the pot because they said it was hot and they could not touch it:
 Here are some exhibits about the history of Atlanta:
They sit down to watch a good two to three minutes of any movie:
The museum had recreated a shotgun house inside the museum.  The girls went up the stairs, through the museum, out the back, and around the side at least a dozen times.  I think they thought it was like a playhouse.  Later in the day, Catherine kept saying she wanted to go to "the blue house."  I had no idea what she meant.  Finally, after we had seen all the other exhibits, I asked Catherine what she meant by "the blue house."  She took me straight back through the first room we had toured to this house.  I let them run through it a few more times.
The entrance to the room detailing the urbanization of Atlanta had a floor painted like an interstate.  The girls loved that and ran up and down the striped ramp several times.
 Here is the Victorian playhouse which is near the Swan House:
Sabrina was practicing her "spy walk," where she creeps along, one foot at a time:
 Throwing coins in a fountain:
 Sabrina loved the statue of the baby elephant:
 Overlooking the beautiful Swan House gardens:
Grandpa, as well some of my other relatives, went with us.  This was not a school sponsored field trip.  Here is my Dad with the girls in front of the Swan House.
This picture was taken inside one of the other playhouses on the property.  Catherine wanted me to take a picture of them in the "play furniture."
 Pretending to sleep in the slave quarters:
Looking at some of the farm equipment at the Tullie Smith Farm.  I really want to take them back on one of the "homeschooling days" when they have animals and costumed interpreters!
I stopped to take a picture of them in front of the Tullie Smith House.  After I took the picture, I realized that one of Catherine's shoes was off.  I asked her if it fell off.  She told me no, that she had taken it off so this could be a "Cinderella picture."  She said that she invented this picture pose for when we are on stairs.  So creative!
One of the most fun exhibits was the Centennial Olympics exhibit, which included a mock racing track (we held about a dozen "races"):
 At the end of the track is a medals podium:
 Catherine pretending to hold an Olympic torch:
 After the Olympic exhibit, we saw the Civil War exhibit, which included a tent on a battlefield:
Catherine tried to pick up a rifle, which was much heavier than I would have thought it would be.  I remember as a child never being allowed to touch anything in a museum.  Now museum designers create exhibits that utilize all the senses and allow children (and adults) to experience history.
I would have to say that the most fun exhibit in the entire museum was the old-fashioned telephone the girls got to answer, scream into, listen, ring, etc.  This was another part of the museum that the kids returned to several times.
 Sabrina standing in front of a horse drawn carriage:

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