Tuesday, September 25, 2012

At the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum (Again!)

I once read an essay in a travel magazine written by a woman who claimed that she and her partner had a policy to never visit the same vacation spot more than once. Now, I don't know to what level they took this--"We've been to the Mona Lisa gallery in the Louvre once, so we'll never go into that gallery again," or "We've been to the Louvre once, so we'll never go again," or "We've been to Paris once, so we'll never go again"--but the practice immediately struck me as something that I'd NEVER want to do.

Mind you, I'm also not going to be going to Disney World five times in two years like one particularly obsessed mom friend of mine (Kimberly, I'm waving at you!), but I do appreciate visiting a well-loved place again. It makes a lot of sense from a parenting perspective, since the child who loved Chicago's Field Museum at the age of four is in for a whole new world of experience when she comes again at the age of eight, and the children who just rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad five minutes ago are going to enjoy the feeling of mastery that comes with knowing what to expect when they ride it a second time, and they're going to love it even more the third time, the fourth time, the fifth time, and the sixth time, after which they might be willing to take a break, but only if it involves ice cream bars shaped like Mickey Mouse's head.

The same scenario applies to adults, too, however--or at least to me! I loved visiting Hawaii for the first time as a kid, and I loved visiting Hawaii for the second time on my honeymoon with Matt; it was a whole new Hawaii, experienced as an adult, following my own agenda, with my partner. We didn't stay at the nice resort of my childhood, but we did stay in a hostel where we both thought that the owner was going to kill us in our beds (seriously, if I had a buck for every time that has happened to me...); we had our own rental car, we drank a ton of guava juice, and we came so close to active lava flows that if I'd tripped and fallen I would have burned my face off.

I can't wait to visit Hawaii again and show it to our girls.

So it bothered me not at all that the girls and I were just at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum last year; we still like shells--
--the girls are older and know more science and geography with which to appreciate the museum's collections--
Shells from Africa--how apropos!

 Once again, I studied with fascination the collection of Sailor's Valentines--

--but this time, now that each girl is a year older, the project struck me as actually pretty doable for me and the girls and our huge shell collection. Stay tuned!

Inspired by our museum visit, Willow asked if we could study mollusks. I'm starting us off by learning the order of taxonomy, then zipping down to Phylum Mollusca, where I'll need to do a lot of preparatory studying, myself, frankly, invertebrate biology not being a huge part of my own childhood curriculum.

Let the adventure begin!


Maureen Sklaroff said...

Thanks so much for posting about this! I had heard of them a LONG time ago, because they have some educational kits that are supposed to be awesome and very reasonably priced. I didn't need the kits at the time and then lost the link and forgot their name. Sure enough, after all these years, they still sell the kits! http://shellmuseum.org/education/school_kits.cfm

julie said...

Oooh, I SAW one of those kits on display at the museum--they look really excellent!

If I can just come up with the letterhead, I'm betting that I can get one of the small grants that my homeschool group offers to buy one of those kits for our group.

And then, you know, just keep it at my house when no one wants it.


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