Tag Archives: history

Clara Barton Museum ~ Mega Field Trip 2018

mega field trip - clara barton museum

We heard that there was a museum about Clara Barton in Washington, D.C. We have studied Clara Barton before and so when we heard about it, we knew we had to visit. At Home Dad and Miss E headed off to the Holocaust Museum and we hiked up the hill from where we had parked. The Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum was really neat and one I highly recommend.

There is a short film (under 15 minutes) that introduces Clara Barton, her work, and how the building that the museum is housed in was found.

clara barton museum entrance

The story of the building – a man who was working for the government was checking it out, trying to figure out what needed to be done to get it torn down. While on the upper floors, he noticed something strange poking out from the attic. He grabbed a ladder, got the paper and took a look, as it was clearly old. It turned out to be the first of over a thousand artifacts from the Civil War era. One of the artifacts gave away what the building had been – the offices Clara Barton and her Missing Soldier’s Office. There was no way they could tear the building down now!

And that started the work of preserving and restoring parts of the building. The third floor was restored to what it would have looked like at the time of Ms. Barton’s use of the building. There are even pieces of wall paper that they were able to locate and then replicate so the wallpaper is appropriate.

The upper floor is set up somewhat like it might have been at the time of Ms. Barton. There are documents preserved to be read, along with information describing the work she did. She spent so many years helping others from this building. There are places where you can see the original wall papers. There are photographs and original papers. There are some examples of things like socks that were precious commodities during war time.

Clara Barton is an interesting and important figure in American history so it was special to be able to visit the Missing Soldiers Office, take a look at the large pages of names that she worked from and read letters from people seeking her assistance. To know that where we were standing had made a difference in so many lives was incredible.

It is a fascinating place to visit and I am so glad we were able to visit. They operate on donations and on purchases made from their store. I was disappointed that they only had a few biographies on Ms. Barton, several of which did not look engaging for me or the girls, though they did have the biography that we studied from YWAM. I did make a purchase of one of my favorite authors and a book I didn’t have – Louisa May Alcott’s Hospital Sketches.

If you have opportunity, I do recommend visiting this museum.

Blessings,
At Home.

My Family For The War ~ book review

My daughter found this book at our library book sale the other day. In going through her pile and deciding what to purchase, she chose not to get this one. So I picked it up and looked at it. I knew immediately that I would need to read this book so I bought it. 

Warning: I’m putting this here so it doesn’t get missed. There is some language in chapter 3 of this book. It is a scene where the Germans storm a Jewish home in the middle of the night and the language the Germans use is rough. It is only a short amount but there are several strong words used. Additionally, in the first few chapters, there are some scenes where some violence occurs – a group of children beating up another child severely and the Jewish father being beaten when the German invade their home.

Summary: This is the story of young girl, she is 10 at the start of the story in 1939, living in Germany. Franziska Mangold is of Jewish heritage. Her family has been Protestant for over two generations. She knows who she is and doesn’t quite understand why she is suddenly being considered a Jew. The times get rough and she has to endure many things. When she is beaten up, her Jewish friend takes her to his house. While there, she experiences some of the Jewish religious customs that she doesn’t know. Her friend questions her about who she really is but she doesn’t know how to answer.

After her father is arrested, her family struggles. In talking with a Jewish friend, Franziska finds out about the kindertransports that are being arranged by others in Europe to help save the German children. She excitedly tells her mother about that and how her friend will be saved. Her mother then gets her on one of the transports, to her dismay. She ends up in England and living with a Jewish family who takes very good care of her.

The problem is that she is now experiencing very deep dismay and confusion about who she is and how she should be living. She begins to question her beliefs, her understanding, and who she is at the very core. She comes to care deeply for the family she is living with yet still aching for her own family. She is torn and feels like she is betraying those she loves. Then she is ripped from that family and sent to live with yet another that is farther inland. That is yet another difficulty. Eventually she is able to be reunited with the original Jewish family from London. The war goes on and she stays with them for the remainder of the war. All in all, she is with this family for 8 years, almost half her life. She loves them and feels strongly attached. When the war ends, she has more struggles ahead of her to figure out who her family is and where she belongs.

Thoughts:
This is a tragic story that is probably more accurate than I can imagine. This story shows the blessing and tragedy of humanitarian efforts like the kindertransport. Children’s lives are preserved but their beings are ripped and torn with no understanding about where they belong. What difficulty!

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and have already recommended it to a number of people. It is probably appropriate for middle school and up, especially for those doing any kind of a WWII study. It is not a true story but I can imagine that it pretty well reflects the growing up and coming-of-age of many children from Germany and other countries so badly affected by the German war movements in the 1930s and 1940s. 

It gives a unique perspective on how the children would have been affected, hurt, and struggled. It is a difficult but wonderful story.

Blessings,
At Home.

Air & Space Museum ~ Mega Field Trip 2018

An interest of mine since I was a child is space and flight. I have enjoyed reading about it, visiting places related to it, and dreaming about. I enjoy learning about it. That is just one of the reasons we stopped in Dayton, OH, to learn more about the Wright Brothers. Thus, one of our first Smithsonian museums to visit in Washington, D.C. was the Air and Space Museum.

It is so much fun to see all of the historic airplanes and rockets. It is interesting to read about the people who have made an impact on flight and space exploration. The artifacts are unique and really bring history to life. I know – we read and say that a lot but it is true for me.

One of the rooms at the Air and Space Museum was a hands-on room. It was so much fun to see the girls run from place to place and learn something new. From how to control an airplane to the difference in weight from planet to planet to how to design a rocket path and see if it works or fails there were so many activities for the girls to work with. We spent quite a bit of time in that room.

We also visited a travelling exhibit on the Wright Brothers. That was really neat since we had already visited their National Park museum.

In addition to all of the “don’t touch” rockets and airplanes, there was a big airliner that we could walk through. It was neat to see the inside of an airplane since the girls have only flown once in their lives and that was years ago. I don’t remember the age of that aircraft but it was fun.

Of course, my favorite parts were the lunar landing modules and rockets. Have I mentioned that I have always been fascinated by space exploration and travel? Just one reason that we turned on the Mars landing a couple of weeks ago.

While the girls will always have to put up with my museum fascination, it is a great way to do school and learning and I think we tend to learn more this way. I absolutely enjoyed this experience, including the exhibit on Amelia Earhart. (Did I share with you the book on her that was fascinating? I don’t think so. It is titled The Sound of Wings and is written by Mary S. Lovell.) The girls enjoyed themselves in spite of not wanting to. 🙂 And they remembered having visited this museum six or so years ago. At least a few parts of it they remembered.

This is definitely a museum that I recommend if you can’t see all of the Smithsonian museums. And let’s face, if you don’t live in the area, who can? You always have to pick and choose. So we chose this one and I am thrilled that we did. I enjoyed it immensely.

Blessings,
At Home.

Washington D.C. monuments ~ Mega Field Trip 2018

Mega Field Trip - this stop was the National Monuments in Washington, D.C.

One of my favorite memories from my first two visits to D.C. were seeing the monuments. They are such imposing structures dedicated to important men, women, and times in our history. And they are just stunningly beautiful. For this reason, and many others, our first stop for our time in D.C. was the national monuments. We wanted to make sure the girls got to see them and the weather was a tad questionable for several of the days we were planning to be there. So, we went walking. 

It is a nice long walk from the middle of the mall area down to the Lincoln memorial, which marks the farthest memorial on the mall. We visited the Washington Monument, which was fenced off for work, first. It is neat to see this tall building up close and to take a look at the change in color where work had to be halted for a while. 

We then walked on down to the World War II Memorial, with a glimpse of the White House along the way. There was an Honor Flight from Michigan at the memorial when we arrived and it was breathtaking to see them all sitting there proudly, most in wheelchairs, visiting the memorial dedicated to them and all those comrads that were lost in the war. It was touching to see them gingerly touching the monument and taking pictures alongside the marker for their state. Knowing many of these men will not be alive much longer made this a special time and it was wonderful to be able to talk to the girls about the important role those men there that day played in our history.

Next we visited what is often called The Wall – the Vietnam Memorial. It was sobering to look at the seemingly-never-ending list of names on the wall. To know that each of those names represents a lost life for a conflict that our nation was involved in. We walked quietly along the wall, discussing with the girls what was going on with some of the folks who were doing rubbings of names or looking through the inches-thick directories trying to locate the name of someone important. We were able to talk about how so many of these were lost and the circumstances surrounding much of the conflict. 

We walked past a few of the statues that represent different people from different populations in all of the wars and read what we could about each of them. The National Park Service provides brochures that come in handy for many of these. 

We visited the Lincoln Memorial, climbing up the steps to stand at the base of his statue and imagine what an imposing man he was. We read the engraved speeches on the walls and just stood in awe of this great president. We talked about what a influence he was on America and how he truly tried to unite the states during the Civil War. His work is often underappreciated, I think, and it was great to be able to chat with the girls about President Lincoln. 

Next we walked over to the Korean Memorial. This is a harder-to-explain war for me, since I am still trying to learn more about it. I have read some lately that helped me talk to the girls a bit about it. We talked about why it is represented the way it is and we looked at the different parts – with the soldiers in rain gear trudging through plants.

While there, one of the girls hit her breaking point and I was talking with her about why we were visiting these memorials – to remember the people who gave their lives so that we can live in freedom, that other people who were around us could very likely have been the family of the men that fought the war, etc. A veteran was listening and chimed in, saying something along the lines of “Young lady, you are very special and blessed to live here. I and many other fought for this and this place represents those who couldn’t come home. It is a special place.” That made an impression on me and I think it did her, as well, because she got quiet and we just sat in the shade for a bit. Then she was ready to move on. 

We called it a day at that point, as it was really hot and getting late in the afternoon. We knew the walk was long to get over to the Jefferson Memorial and the others on that part of the tidepool. We opted to just chat with the girls about those. While I was disappointed, I knew it wasn’t wise to push that hard on our first full day in D.C. After all, we were going to be there for several more days and there was no way we could possibly see everything we wanted to. The monuments were important, though, and I am glad we chose that day to do them, hot as it was. The next few days were off and on rainy so that would have made it unpleasant to visit them. 

Blessings,
At Home.

The Storm of the Century ~ Book Club

This will be the last book club of 2018. Hard to imagine things have gone so fast, isn’t it? With the types of weather that has been experienced by the country this year, this book choice just kind of fits in. Part of our Mega Field Trip was to New Bern, NC. If you will remember, it was hit hard by Hurricane Florence this year. And we skeedaddled out of the way of Hurricane Michael while we were on the homeward stretch of the trip. So, The Storm of the Century kind of fits. 

Written by Al Roker (yes, the weather man), this book is subtitled “tragedy, heroism, survival and the epic true story of America’s deadliest natural disaster: The Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900.” This book definitely lives up to its name. It is an engaging, thrilling, heart-wrenching book on everything related to that unparalleled disaster. From the stories of the people, to what causes these storms, to the influence of politics on the outcome of storms like this, it is an understatement to say I learned a lot. 

While I really enjoy the human stories of triumph amid tragedy that are shared so detailed here, I find they are enriched by the backstories of the history and science that Mr. Roker so clearly and openly shares here. The stories of the people are interwoven throughout the book so that you are easily able to follow that thread and see how it connects to things like the creation of the Weather Service and the political situation in Cuba and to the formation of the rain clouds that eventually grew to a storm of montrous proportions. 

Mr. Roker does a wonderful job of using language and expressions in a way that you can easily place yourself in the story that he is telling. When he is describing the horror that Isaac Cline felt when he realized that Galveston was, indeed, going to experience a disaster, you feel it yourself. When the little girl is picked off a floating piece of debris and brought to huddle with other survivors you feel relief and hope for her. When you read about Cassie heart-wrenchingly wishing she had died in the storm, you feel the great fear and despair she must have felt. The people are brought to life and you can’t help but feel a little bit of what they must have felt. 

One unexpected thing you will experience in reading this particular book is a growth of knowledge. I had no idea that almost all Atlantic hurricanes begin in the same place over Africa and the many forces that must act on those rain clouds to become a major storm. I had no idea that the political tensions in Cuba would have had a devastating effect on the loss of life in Galveston (a ban on communications stopped men who felt they truly understood the storm from being able to communicate with anyone who would listen to them in America). Honestly, I had no idea that the Cuban monks had such extensive knowledge of weather and were considered some of the best in the world. Yet, since it was believed at the time that weather could not be predicted very well and especially not storms, they were not allowed to share their information and understanding. What a shame! 

This is a fascinating book that I would highly recommend. I am thrilled to find that Mr. Roker is a talented writer that I enjoyed reading. 

As I close, I just want to share that I am reimagining what is going to happen with the Book Club for 2019. I haven’t finalized that but be looking for something a bit different in January. 

Blessings,
At Home.

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

Underground Railroad House ~ Mega Field Trip 2018

After a stop at a lovely hotel on our way through Ohio, we went looking for a gas station. Google maps happened to pop up that there was a house nearby that was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Of course, we went looking for it. 

While it was a fairly short stop, it was neat. The house and its ground were not open to the public but there was an historical marker out front that we stopped to read. 

These types of interesting finds are what make trips like this so fascinating and fun. We could never plan for this type of an experience and so stumbling upon these signs makes for a fun addition to road trips. (Note to self: stop more often on our normal routes!)

Blessings,
At Home.

The Watch That Ends The Night: Voices From the Titanic ~ Book Club

The Watch That Ends The Night

I cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed this book. It is historical fiction with a poetic twist. Anyone who enjoys reading about the Titanic will thoroughly enjoy this book.

The Watch That Ends The Night is written by Allan Wolf. We all know the story but Mr. Wolf takes the information, the facts, and uses them to create a whole new story – to bring the people to life, so to speak. He gives them character, family, emotion, hope, fear, and dreams.

Each page, sometimes two, is a new speaker. These are the thoughts and actions and emotions of each of the people who were on board this magnificent ship when she floundered and failed. The speaker has a way with words that varies from person to person, just like in life. Each person speaks a different way, using a different type of poetry.

These voices tell us the story of the Titanic from a unique perspective. Meet the voices of this disaster:

Olaus Abelseth – the immigrant
Thomas Andres – the shipbuilder
John Jacob Astor – the millionaire
Joseph Boxhall – the navigator
Harold Bride – the spark (wireless operator)
E.J. Smith – the captain
Jamila Nicola-Yarred – the refugee
The Iceberg
The Ship Rat
. . . and more.

p. 7 – The Iceberg

I am the ice. I see the tides ebb and flow.
I’ve watched civilizations come and go,
give birth, destroy, restore, be gone, begin.
My blink of an eye is humankind’s tortoise slow. . .

p. 175 – The First-Class Promenade

Like figures on a crousel,
around the upper-crust rondelle,
they swagger, sway, sashay, glissade;
Titanic‘s first-class promenade. . .

These are just a couple of examples of the differences in the poetic voices used to tell the story of the ship building, the launch, the sailing, the disaster, the rescue.

Mr. Wolf has done an incredible amount of research and used this information to put together this new and interesting vision of the Titanic. It is a fascinating and interesting read. There is much information that I had not heard before or a new take on it that helps me see the people on board the ship as real.

As with all historical fiction, there is some information that is included from lore and legend, some that is changed or unverifiable. However, Mr. Wolf does a complete job of trying to make the reader aware of where those changes or legends occur by include a as-true-as-is-known biography of each of the voices in the story. This final closure is a wonderful ending to this unique story.

This is one to add to your list. No doubt about it. You can find a partial preview and read some of the story online.

Blessings,
At Home.

As always, please visit Wendy’s Ladybug Daydreams blog to see what she read this month and is up to now. Thanks for reading along!

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

 

%d bloggers like this: