This Fourth of July week has been an action packed week. Monday, Mary (a fellow intern) and I hit the big city of Annapolis. We took at trolley tour of the city to learn about its history. We also stayed for the parade and the big fireworks show at the harbor. It was a great day! I really enjoyed looking out at the streets trying to imagine what it must have been like to be in the city in 1785 after the war has ended. It made me also think of how I like to stand outside of the JMM and try to picture the bustling of Lombard Street. The people selling chickens and veggies and the children running around getting food or playing games, what a sight it must have been. Thinking of the quotes in the Voices of Lombard Street, you can really picture the street in the early twentieth century. I really have enjoyed taking groups through the exhibit. Seeing kids faces as they look at the outhouse and discover what it was, is priceless.
Leading and helping with school groups has also been one of my favorite things to do at the museum. Tuesday, we had the Super campers come to visit. They are a great group of kids. I helped with the Synagogue Speaks activities. The kids seem to really enjoy the activities. It was very interesting to hear what the kids were going to paint for their favorite thing painting. This corresponds to the murals that were once on the ceiling of the Lloyd Street Synagogue of the Holy Land. A lot of kids will draw their favorite place to eat or their favorite sports team; it is the ones that paint something close to them that is truly touching. One child painted him and his brother playing football outside. There was something so sweet in this simple painting, to him that was the most special place in the world. I think this is why I like working with children so much. They have a different outlook on life and the world. There is this thirst for knowledge and the understanding of the world that I think adults loose as they age. I know that many adults never lose that appetite for learning, but there is something different about children and their quest for knowledge. I used to babysit and during story time, my little buddy would ask ten questions per page about everything regardless of the story being read. At first it was kind of annoying to have to stop and answer the questions. But then I realized that to him these were questions that were important and interesting to him. I learned to look forward to his questions. The same way I look forward to the questions that the school groups ask us at the museum. To a child knowing why the bathroom was outside or why they had to keep fish the tub are relevant and important to them. Their questions are something I look forward to when they come.
This internship as really shown me that working with children in a museum is something that I want to do. Yes, they are loud and sometimes crazy, but children are the people I relate to the most. Some may say it’s because I can talk to a fence post, but I think to think that it is because I understand their motivations for asking questions. Learning is something that I hope I never get to old to do. I also ask a lot of questions, just ask my mentor. There is nothing better than seeing something and then going to look up the history on it. I love the feeling of finding out something new.
Well that is enough seriousness for one blog! I would like to end on the fun things I learned this week. First, I learned the homes in Annapolis are controlled by the historical council in all aspects but outside paint. Therefore, people take liberties with the paint colors of their homes, as I tour guide put it, “they are either being really creative or getting their revenge.” I also learned that fireworks and parades are more fun when surrounded by people wearing the most red, white, and blue that they possibly can. Lastly, I learned that arts and crafts as a grad student maybe be more fun now than it was when I was a kid. Everyone should come out tonight and check out Brews and Schmooze and get their picture taken with the JMM collage that the West Wing interns worked hard on!