Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Historic St. Mary's City, Maryland

I could have sworn I've written about Historic St. Mary's City on here before, but I can't find any posts through searching, so I guess not!

St. Mary's City hosts two homeschool days a year which makes for a great field trip. It's a 17th century colonial village at the far southern tip of Maryland right by the water. They boast a sailing ship The Maryland Dove, various original buildings including a court building where the 1st law for religious freedom was passed in the American colonies, and they are actively excavating archaeological digs run by the local college. They have a few historical interpreters who dress in costume, but speak in present day terms at the main site and at the ship. Down the road at the tobacco farm, however, they dress in period costume and act in 1st person which makes for some interesting experiences. They interpreters speak with an east London type accent (at least to my ears) and I always find it amusing to listen to them. I've been happy to see children interpreters working there. I would love to get my kids involved in that type of thing when they're a bit older. They have a nice garden there too with enormous fig trees that I greatly admire.

Since I love looking at museum exhibits and new ways of interpreting history, I thought I'd show you a few pictures.
Outside the Council Chamber Inn


Inside the Council Chamber Inn
What I love about this building is that instead of completely restoring the building, they left it as a basic structure with suggestions of where things would have been, including this reconstructed fireplace. Notice how it isn't resting on the ground so that you can see the original floor they excavated. Archaeology education at its finest.



Cellar Archaeology
They excavated hundreds of crab claws!
Only at an archaeology museum do they delve into the importance of excavated trash. I love it!


A window to the original floor.
This is a super cool way of showing the original floor in an up close & personal way while making the building practical for everyday use by visitors.

They also had a really neat activity that impressed me that had the children dye lengths of wool yard to compare the colors of the natural dyes. While they didn't soak long enough to make it really dark (the black walnut was done in advance because of how messy it was), the dye was enough to tell a difference. This activity was a wonderful balance of hands-on without being too involved and the end result was something simple and easy to see. I love activities like this!


Over at the tobacco farm I was thrilled to see a pile of trash outside the house.
Way to keep it real! The only thing missing... the downright rank smells, but maybe it's a good thing, right?


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