This week, we began our studies of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. We learned a lot about Lincoln’s early life this week; next week, we’ll get more in-depth about the war. This is one of my favorite periods of American History to study/teach, possibly because I’ve read Gone With the Wind so many times!
Since we were learning about the Civil War this week and next, we went on a field trip to see a an exhibit entitled “Civil War in the West,” which is currently housed in the Old Ordnance Room at Jefferson Barracks National Park. It was interesting to see the different displays showcasing different aspects of life during the Civil War, including a woman rolling bandages, a doctor performing an amputation, (the children had a morbid curiosity about that one!), and soldiers sitting by a campfire.
The children were also interested in a display which showed the kinds of entertainment that were popular back then. They were quite surprised to discover that playing cards and dominoes haven’t changed much!
While we were at the park, we also stopped in the Powder Magazine to see the World War II exhibit. We got to see a local display, which included an airman’s uniform, and a “victory blanket” his family had made.
We also talked about rationing, especially as we’re looking forward to Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. We discussed how even the royal family had to use ration books, and how people just couldn’t go out and buy whatever they wanted, when they wanted it. I don’t think the children could quite wrap their minds around that concept!
Outside the Powder Magazine is a Battle of the Bulge Memorial. It was nice to stop and look at this, especially as this weekend is Memorial Day Weekend.
Also to honor Memorial Day, we stopped at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, which is adjacent to the park. The children have been there once before, but they were still amazed at the number of graves that are there…to be honest, so am I! It was a good opportunity to talk about how many people have served in the Armed Forces, and how many of them died defending our country.
Only two more weeks of school to go!