Sunday, September 6, 2009

US History: More Native Americans!

Thursday, the day after our enormous Native American wave, I decided we must go to the National Museum of the American Indian right now!

This sudden urgency was because I realized that, 1: we had blown through most of the activities I had planned for this mini unit and the interest was at its peak, and 2: Friday we would be spending with doctor visits, then there was the holiday weekend, then there was a birthday, and we wouldn't be able to return to the subject for nearly a week. Yikes!

So we went, and a fantastic time was had by all. The first thing we saw was that they had a "family activity" going on! So the older Zoomlians learned some Indian beading techniques while I showed the younger two around the boats in the center of the main hall.
The little guys enjoyed the boats, although it somehow left Choclo with the impression that the central main hall was actually a swimming pool. And he wanted to go swimming right now. This did not help us at the water feature later.

One advantage to the "family activity" was the availability of friendly and knowledgeable docents. I explained what we were doing and she directed us to the fourth floor where there is a truly amazing set up called, I believe, "Our Universe."

The central area is darkened with lights representing the Milky Way and other constellations. Here you could watch a variety of animated star myths from different cultures. Coming off of this chamber are eight others representing eight different cultures from the Inuit to the Mayas. Many of them are designed as houses and all show artifacts and clothing particular to that culture.

Well! That was perfect! You could see the landscape they lived in, how had this place affected how they lived? Their food, their clothes, their homes? It could have been custom built for us!

Outside of that, was a wall of interesting artifacts along with interactive computers that let you zoom in on them and find out all sorts of things.

About two hours later, with our parking meter running out, we did a last look at the grounds. I do think the grounds may be the best part of the Museum! Here are the Zoomlians, strenuously not playing in the waterfalls. What you can't see from here are the model houses, the beautiful gardens showing how people farmed, and the"natural" gardens.

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