Saturday, April 10, 2010

Two Field Trips in One Day! NY Unearthed and NMAI

This Thursday, we had a fun packed day full of learning and time with friends. First, we visited New York Unearthed, an archaeology exhibit of the South Street Seaport Museum, where Mikro and his friends learned about artifacts from various time periods stretching from Native American pre-European days to the 1950s, which were found in lower Manhattan. The kids got to search for a particular artifact and make notes about it, and view dioramas and actual artifacts from the different periods. Then they went downstairs and viewed the stratigraphy wall, which shows the various layers (strata) underground, and the types of artifacts found in each. They got to see a cannonball and bullets, and to work in groups to examine an artifact and draw conclusions about what it might have been used for, then present their ideas to the other groups.Since I am an archaeology geek, and Mikro wants to be a paleontologist, this was right up our alley. We enjoyed it very much.

We played outside the museum in a public plaza for a while afterwards, then bid our friends adieu and headed off to eat lunch at Bowling Green and then tour one of our favorite spots-- the National Museum of the American Indian. We first went to a screening of several film shorts about horses. (We saw the related exhibition, Song for the Horse Nation, awhile back.) Then we wandered through the galleries, and in the Resource Room, we bumped into some of our homeschooled friends, to whom we had mentioned that we would be heading to the NMAI. We were just in time to participate in a terrific children's program. Museum staffer Angela explained the contents of the "Buffalo Box" to the kids, who got to handle deerskin, a buffalo tail whisk, buffalo horns and toes, soap made from buffalo tallow, and other objects. And afterwards, we were able to see another demo about making kapa, a cloth made from mulberry bark by native Hawaiians, and make a bookmark stamped with traditional geometric designs such as those used on kapa.

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