Think of 1898 in rural Nebraska: a horse-drawn carriage rides down the main street of the village, an arithmetic teacher teaches children to count in a school with only one class, and the smell of fresh chocolate wafts from the convenience store.< /p>
In museums of “living” history, visitors do not need to imagine anything. They can simply “plunge” into the past, writes Share America.
Our story is about three such museums in different regions of the United States. They are dedicated to different historical events and different periods of the history of the country.
The Stehr Pioneer Museum of the Prairie
The Stehr Museum, nestled in the tall meadow grasses of central Nebraska, keeps the memory about the pioneers who settled in this area of the Midwest many years ago.
“We talk about the history of this part of the country, what the pioneers did and what they didn’t, about the clash of different cultures … and how this region grew along with the whole country,” says museum director Joe Black.
Real historians, connoisseurs of ancient traditions work in the Museum's Railway Town. Visitors can make their own tools in the tinsmith's workshop, buy sweets in the trading shop and watch the coals burn in the forge.
According to Black, “living history” is very popular, because visitors get a real opportunity to see the past, breathe in its smells and hear its sounds, and also take part in some events that happened in the past.
The museum celebrates Christmas, All Saints' Eve and Fourth of July in the old style, attracting many visitors from the state and from all over the country. During the summer months, various classes are held here, teaching ancient methods of fishing, horseback riding, baking cakes and even painting with watercolors.
“Sometimes we manage to make visitors forget, even for a moment, that they are in a museum, that's how deep they get into the realities of Railroad City,” says Black. “We can really make them feel that way.”
Founded in 1947, the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts features the history of the 17th-century English colonists who settled in the area, as well as the history of the indigenous people, the Wampanoag Indians.
More than 300,000 visitors who visit the museum annually through the streets of an English village in 1624, buying cornmeal at a water mill and interacting with modern-day Wampanoag.
According to museum employee Kate Sheehan, “plunging” into the past through “living history” can radically change the worldview of visitors.
She explains that some exhibits, such as the Mayflower II, which is a replica of the ship that once arrived from England in Plymouth, can only be seen here. The Mayflower II, a gift from the people of Great Britain, appeared in the museum's collection in 1957.
“It's a real classroom on the water,” says Keith Sheehan. – Thanks to the Mayflower II, you can learn a lot of interesting things about the journey of 1620. It's part of the story.” The Mayflower II is currently being refurbished and will return to its home harbor in 2020, in time for the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims in Plymouth.
San Diego Maritime MuseumAt the San Diego Maritime Museum, visitors can board both replicas and real ships, witnesses of historical events that have taken place over the past five hundred years.
Educational programs allow guests to view ships, learn a lot from instructors and crew members, and even go on a voyage on a copy of the Spanish galleon of 1542. You can board the Star of India, the oldest sailing ship in the world that is still afloat.
Children learn teamwork skills, complete ship assignments, while adults enjoy going on historical cruises or making friends with the history of the navy in the museum itself.
“This is not just a museum that visitors stroll through,” says tour guide Teresa Smullen. “You can go on a real sea voyage, experience the spirit of the West Coast, learn about our rich maritime heritage and the history of our connections with the Pacific region.”