Saturday, February 27, 2010

Winter Note (and a semi-retraction)

Well, I'm not getting to as many places as I had hoped when I started this project. But I will forge ahead. The fact that few sites are open during the winter months (or hours are curtailed) combined with my last experience has dampened the fire somewhat.

However, I wanted to just post a quick note amending some prior posts. I had given very good reviews to the Middlesex County properties -- Cornelius Low House and East Jersey Olde Towne, based on personal visits there with my daughter and extended family.

Coincidentally, all the first grade classes in my daughter's school took a field trip to both sites in the late autumn. My wife accompanied our daughter's class there. Based on our prior visits, expectations were high.

Unfortunately, they were not met. It appears that the staff use basically the same tour content for all groups regardless of age or interest. After standing outside in the cold and damp for 20 minutes to hear some history of the property, they were finally escorted inside the Low house.

Apparently, the tour guide in the house was not the most child-friendly. My daughter told me afterward that "She looked like she wanted us to get out of her house."

At Olde Towne, the children were led through a few of the buildings. I was told that the person who showed them the Tavern did a pretty good job. However, the 19th century schoolhouse was a snooze according to multiple sources.

It's a schoolhouse! How hard is it to make this interesting for 7 year olds? This is where you should have a pretty good program that gets the kids to imagine what it would have been like to go to school then. Teach them a sample lesson perhaps?

This is the first time our school scheduled a trip there. Based on feedback from the teachers, I wouldn't be surprised if it was also the last. What a shame.