Friday, February 25, 2011

Mount Vernon--Friday History Field Trip #14


It's been a while since our last Friday History Field Trip. Winter isn't the greatest time for them, but we also have been focused on other things. With Kutey sick, the last two Fridays were out of the running for any outside activity.

Enter the virtual field trip. We had so much fun on our last virtual field trip, we decided to try another one! Since it was President's day on Monday, I looked for a George Washington themed trip. Mount Vernon was just the ticket. Kiddo did some reading about George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Presidents' day earlier in the week (actually, ON Presidents' Day), but I saved the field trip for today.

The Mount Vernon website is great. In addition to a tour of the Mansion House (where Washington lived and died), there is a tour of the Mansion House Farm that includes many buildings. Each building included has a picture and a description of the building's purpose. We read each one, though I will admit that the kids tired about half way through. If we had stopped there, however, we would have missed out favorite building!

The Dung Repository.

Bet ya can't guess what this building was for! That's right, it was the poop building. Hysterics ensued at my household when I started calling it that. It is the first known structure in the United States* devoted to composting. Fun, right?

After we read about each of the outbuildings, we FINALLY entered the house. I think the kids were a bit overwhelmed at this point, and I probably should have stopped and done the interior later. But on we went. Through all three floors of the house. It is amazing. Most of the rooms have points of interest you can click on to see more details about a painting or piece of furniture. All of the viewable rooms give a 360 degree view of the room. My one complaint was there seems to be a lack of ability to pan up and down, making it a bit less interesting. In Martin Luther King, Jr.'s house, we could spin around while looking at the ceiling if we wanted to. The feature was missed (not that we wanted to spin around while looking at the ceiling, but panning up to see the paintings might have been good.)

The descriptions are rich in history. I learned so much just from reading all the descriptions and connecting all the people of the time period. The kids learned something too, don't worry! This is a field trip we will definitely take again, maybe even in person someday!

*I find it hard to imagine that the Native Americans here prior to colonization didn't do some form of composting at some point in some area. So it is important to note that they do say, "In the United States" which rules out anything in colonial times or prior, at least in my mind!

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