Sunday, August 18, 2013

Adventures in U.S. History Week 23

Our week for studying Missouri finally arrived!  Along with it: Maine, Arkansas, and Michigan.  We skipped the taste testing scheduled on Wednesday in favor of some character training due to bad attitudes (both kids' and mama's).  She did it before in 1st grade anyway, so no big loss.

Somehow, I managed to get through the whole week without taking a single photo!  Not sure how that happened…but to make up for it, I brought my camera along on our field trip to the Pony Express Museum in St. Joe, Missouri.  (It's actually St. Joseph, but no one around here actually calls it that…not if they're natives anyway!)

We listened to Adventures in Odyssey on CD on our drive to St. Joe.  Everyone, even Hubby, got caught up in the story.  When I was about 8, we didn't have a TV at our new home in Florida.  We didn't know anybody and didn't have any neighbors.  There certainly wasn't any internet to entertain us then either.  I remember listening to the Christian radio station's radio dramas as often as they were broadcast.  Though technology has changed a lot since I was a kid, I'm glad my kids get a chance to experience some of the joy of radio drama too.

At the museum, we saw life-sized replicas of Pony Express riders, horses in their stalls, and oxen pulling a covered wagon.

This sign by the covered wagon described all the different kinds of supplies pioneers would need to take with them.  It was fun reading about each item and looking for it inside the wagon.

One whole section was dedicated to miniatures depicting the different types of terrain and difficulties the Pony Express riders faced, from flatlands to mountains, from herds of buffalo to attacks by hostile Indians.

After exploring a replica Pony Express station, the kids tried mounting up on saddles and we discussed what it would be like to ride long hours on horseback.  There was an interactive display of types of horses and whether or not they'd make a good choice for the Pony Express.

Nearby was a working well and water pump.  A plexiglass window in the floor allowed a look right down into the well!

I thought it was fascinating that the founders of the Pony Express gave each of their riders a Bible to carry with them.  The riders were typically young men from 17-21, but some were as young as 11!

It's a running gag that the Pony Express was just another failed business in a long line of failures in St. Joe, MO.  The Pony Express was put out of business just 18 months later by the telegraph.

Miss M tapping out her name in Morse Code using a telegraph key.
I loved this painting of the stringing of telegraph wires across the prairie!

Next we came upon a station to make crayon rubbings.  And beyond that was a children's play area set up with dress-up clothes, a school room, and kitchen (including an adorable child-sized cook stove and iron pump).

Hubby and I sat down on some chairs and let the kids' imaginations have free rein.  They picked cherries and strawberries, gathered eggs from chickens, taught school, set the table, cooked stew, washed the dishes, and had a grand old time!  Seriously, it was worth the price of admission just to let them play in the play area!

School Teacher Miss M

Little Guy cooking a vegetable stew.
At the end of the day we came home with these two sweet ponies for my two sweet children.  It was a wonderful field trip!

Our adventures from previous weeks:

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