"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Friday, April 25, 2014

Homeschool Field Trip: Green River Valley Museum

 Today we had a homeschool field trip to the Green River Valley Museum in Big Piney, WY.  It's a great place for kids (and adults).  They have a lot of items, several buildings, and plenty of things the kids are allowed to touch.

 Thankfully some of the stuff is behind glass.  I hadn't read the sign until I loaded the pictures onto the computer, and all I can say is EWWW.

I discovered that clothes and anything made of fabric are the first things I notice at museums :)

I wish I could pull off this look.

One of the neat things about this museum is the local history.  This mural shows a buffalo trap the Indians made in this county, which was actually found and excavated by archeologists.
Our guide pointed out that the mural also included a little girl being killed by a buffalo because they actually found a child's remains at the site.

The mural depicts all the stages of trapping, killing, and harvesting buffalo.  Beneath the mural, they have a display showing what the dig looked like in progress, as well as actual bones and arrow heads recovered from the site.

 There are several different sections and rooms and buildings to this museum.  They have several old vehicles, including a Model T that has been restored and actually runs.

This display shows a coal mining operation, with a cart on a railroad track, and a bucket of coal the kids could pick up and explore.

The five year old was very excited to see everything.  It was good for him that there wasn't as much structure as a real strict place where you can't touch anything.  He really enjoyed the visit.

I had a fun time pointing out some of the old cameras to my ten year old.  One on the bottom shelf, on the right side - with the silver lines - is just like one my maternal Grandmother had in her toy box for us to play with.  And on the top right is a polaroid.  I explained how that work and you'd think I told him I grew up on Mars.

This old cream separator reminded me of one my paternal Grandmother had in her yard.  So many things at this museum reminded me of things she had.

 There are several works of art at the museum, but this one caught our attention.  It was created by a local artist using mud.  She found dirt of different colors, mixed it with liquid plastic and painted with it ... with amazing effects if you ask me.  I think we're going to have to try this. :)

 I think if you click on this picture you may be able to read the info about the art. It's pretty cool.

I mentioned that there are several buildings - the museum has three main show buildings, including one huge one, and there are four smaller buildings that have been moved to the site.   The first we visited was a library.

 This old phone (just like Grandma had) was inside.

I didn't think to take pictures of my favorite things in the library - one being a huge old dictionary that was probably 10-12 inches thick. One of the kids said, "Whoa! This dictionary has WAY more words in it than ours does!" :)  My other favorite thing was the old Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogs.  They were fun to look through.  I told my kids about when I was young.  My ritual was to make a very detailed list from every catalog we received - complete with page number, item number, name of item, and price - for my Christmas list.  At that time, the catalogs had all the toys in the back of the catalog, and they would send them to you sometime around Thanksgiving.  I must have spent hours pouring over every item in those catalogs.  Good memories!

 The second small building we visited was a cabin.  I loved the wallpaper.

If you look close, you'll see the bottom left ad was for "Hair Switches" - basically a pony tail of hair you could clip on and style.  Lol.  Some things never change.

 Then we moved on to the school house. Out front, they have a bell the kids could ring.  This was one of the most popular features for the kids.  Everyone had to ring the bell.

 Inside, they had everything set up like a real school house, complete with a mannequin dressed as a teacher.

These desks are just like ones we found in the old school house on my grandparent's farm in Nebraska.  I wish I had some of those.  But they're pretty inefficient for space in a homeschool.

 On the chalkboard (which is magnetic, but probably wasn't back in the day) they have some laminated pages from a child's book - things like The Old Woman in the Shoe, Jack and Jill, and Little Boy Blue.

 We were in the schoolhouse quite awhile, with one of the moms giving an impromptu quiz.  It was a pretty fun way to do school.

 I also appreciated the fact that there were several things outside that the five year old could touch and check out without hurting.

I missed taking pictures of the fourth little building, which was the old Halfway, WY post office.  These pictures were from the second of the larger showrooms.

This embroidered piece of fabric was framed and hanging on the wall.  The guide told me people would sign their names when they went to a wedding, then someone would embroider it, and give it to the couple as a gift. Pretty cool way to remember the event.

This was another one - a pillow cover.  There are two hearts with signatures all around.

 This was an embroidered child's dress.

And here's another.  Very simple stitches, but such a pretty effect.

 This was a "fainting couch" - ha.  It's hard to tell from the picture, but this is covered in a beautifully patterned green velvet. If I had a couch like this, I'm pretty sure I'd do a lot of fainting so I could recline on it.  Looks like the perfect place to lay and read :)

The basement portion of this building is set up with a funeral display - including several more gruesome items (like a "cooling board" eww).  The ten year old had just figured out that the casket in front of him was for infants, and we had just discussed the fact that many infants didn't make it back then.  Pretty sobering.  I'm so thankful for medical advances.

This is outside, heading to the largest of the display buildings.

 When you first enter the building, there is a large area of concrete with this picture in it.  All the darker pieces are metal.  It's a pretty amazing piece of artwork.  It's probably more than 6 feet wide.

I hate that this picture turned out blurry.  A couple years ago when one of the bars refinished the outside of their building, they uncovered this siding that has a bunch of old local brands on it.  They wanted to preserve it, so it was moved to the museum.  It's pretty cool.

The sheepherder's wagon was the highlight of the trip for my boys.

 They were allowed to go inside it.

 There is a bed, a table, and a wood stove.  All a person really needs, right? ;)

The five year old made himself good and comfortable - see him laying on the bed?

I was surprised by how much room there really is in one of these.  Not sure I'm quite ready to move in though.

This just cracked me up.  The five year old figured out how to open the window and see outside.

 And here comes the two year old ready to climb down.

 They have a fun corner set up for the kids to play in, including dress-up items, a table, couches, and toys.

I love the lining of the toy trunk!

They had a military section set up too.  I cut off part of the poster here, but this was an ad to get people to buy war bonds and stamps.  Nothing like a little propaganda, eh?

 There was certainly nothing subtle about those ads.  I bet they'd never get away with something so in-your-face today.

 If I'm not mistaken, this bedroom set belonged to my husband's grandmother.  The display they have set up for this bedroom was so well done.

And I loved the double wedding ring quilt at the foot of the bed.

 The kids were given permission to sit on this one saddle because it belonged to the mother of the woman giving us the tour.  She was so generous with the kids.

 I really liked how they have so many venues set up.  It was very helpful in picturing what life might have really been like (though I'm sure we'll never truly understand it).

 Again, I kept coming back to all things textile related.

The five year old loved that he could turn the buttons on the stove.

All I could think about was that this, in it's day, was probably such a luxury item.  And I had to giggle about the name on the oven section, which reads, "Westinghouse Automatic Flavor Zone Oven."

 And here's the washing machine.  Hard to imagine what a time saving luxury these things were (with built-in wringer and all.)
 I have to say though that this was one of the most impressive things I saw.  It's a certificate for homesteading a piece of land, from 1906...

...signed by none other than Theodore Roosevelt.  There were two of them at the museum.

After our tour, we headed back home to get the five year old to preschool.  He was going to get to ride the bus to the elementary school where they were having a tour, but I'll post that separately as this one is way too long already.  These are some interesting formations between here and there.

Some day I'm going to take the boys out to get a closer look at these.  Looks like a good place to gather different colored dirt for the mud painting we want to try.  Not to worry.  We won't take much.  Maybe just a ziplock sandwich bag of each color. :)