|all my buddies in one place, studying the mosasaur|
|Ruffed grouse! Cool to see, since we'd studied Pennsylvania's state symbols, so the girls recognized it and were interested in inspecting it up close like this.|
We found lots in this museum to add context to our studies. The museum is currently running a temporary exhibit on Egypt, for instance:
|canopic jars!!! We've read about them!|
In this gallery was one of my absolute most favorite things upon the Earth: a docent, walking around, accosting people to ask if they had any questions.
My fantasy docent, basically.
He accosted us near the diorama of a mummy unwrapping, so I egged him on into telling us more about the process, then explained to him that we were so interested because one of my daughter's books that she'd recently read, Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris, begins with a mummy unwrapping. Another woman standing near asked me to repeat the book, because her granddaughter might like it ("She's smaller than your daughter," she said, "But she reads at an eighth grade level." Don't you just love grandmothers? I congratulated her, and withheld information about my own daughter's equally precocious reading skills), but repeat as I might, she just couldn't get the title into her head. So the docent, still standing with us, pulled out an ipad, asked for her email address, copied the title of the book as I dictated it, and then emailed it to her!
You might not be aware, but I have MANY opinions about the (mis-)use of ipads in education, and I collect instances of valid, appropriate, useful uses. This was a great one to add to my collection.
The museum also has a large bird collection--
--and, best of all best things, it's organized transparently by the order of classification! So valuable for my girls, who have been studying the order of classification as it is used to categorize and identify creatures for months now, to see:
Another exhibit on the evolution of mammals--
--included skeletons of horse ancestors, which the girls could identify by sight at this point, and of human ancestors, which Willow studied long enough ago that I think she's forgotten how obsessed she used to be by it, but we'll delve there again when we finally dial down to human biology (after we finish up chickens, and spend time with praying mantises, butterflies, frogs, cats, and mealworms).
As we finished up our museum trip, I began my rant to Mac about how I'm always disappointed by museum gift shops, how they never stock what I want to buy, how they never have enough truly educational resources, how they never stock materials that permit you to continue studying their exhibits at home, how they pay no attention to adding context and value to your exhibit. I went on and on and on, giving specific examples from museum gift shops that we've visited together (how could the Creation Museum NOT have a truly wonderful Noah's Ark toy?!?)
Serves me right, then, that the Yale Peabody museum gift shop?
Willow bought a book on unlikely animal friendships and a small stuffed wolf (named Lord Woof, he is a VERY naughty puppy who is always getting into mischief), and I bought several postcards of the museum's exhibits, a book on the museum's Hall of Mammal Evolution, a book on the museum's Hall of Prehistoric Life (both of which go into great detail about each of the exhibits, include new information, and add context), a poster showing the organization, classification, and evolution of life, a kit to make your own papyrus paper from strips of real papyrus (we own a few sheets of papyrus paper, and I've seen DIY projects for making fakey papyrus paper from strips of white paper, but I've never seen a real kit like this before), and a couple of erasers that are supposed to be hiding little plastic fossils inside (with which I plan to bribe the girls, since they'd rather scribble over even pencilled mistakes than erase them).
We came home to a lovely, quiet evening of bubbles, spinach lasagna, Model Magic, and homemade peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Sydney, lured with Bill Nye on my computer, was convinced that maybe the closet in her room wasn't SO scary. Matt telephoned to assure me that the chickens were well and the cats missed us.
Next stop: Watch Hill, Rhode Island.