Thursday, July 19, 2012

Our Own Little History Trip

Two weeks ago in LeClaire, Iowa we made a stop at the Buffalo Bill Museum.  It turned out to be a pleasant surprise, exceeding our expectations. I wish I would have been able to take my 3rd graders down to visit when we were in our Pioneer Unit in February-March!  William F. (Buffalo Bill) Cody was born in LeClaire in 1846, and spent some time there as a young boy before his family moved west to Kansas Territory.  
There's a picture of Annie Oakley on the right partition, among other artifacts from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.
The kids were given an age-appropriate scavenger hunt which really kept their interest as we toured the museum.  Mark liked how things were totally hands-on; you could touch just about anything in the displays.  I liked how it was a large collection, but not TOO large as to overwhelm you--and the write-ups were concise and practical.  You could learn a lot from just spending an hour there.  
Wynne is pointing to what I call the "doggy treadmill".  Dogs would pedal it to churn butter!!
This picture didn't turn out well (and keep in mind, our regular camera was in the shop for over a month so I was using the still function on our video camera).  I was in awe of this authentic Civil War uniform and other relics.  It was so heavy and thick...I can't imagine wearing this in the hot summer! (let alone, fighting in battles the way they did)
Wynne was a little scared of these pictures.  In our Pioneer Unit this spring, we learned how Buffalo Bill became good friends with Sitting Bull.  
Other pieces of local history were spread throughout the museum, including a display about James Ryan, a LeClaire native who invented the seat belt, crash bumpers for cars and, and the flight recorder.  But the display that captured our most attention was the Lone Star Steamer.
The Lone Star was "the longest continuously operating wooden steamboat in the United States."  It ran from 1869 to 1967.  It is also the last remaining example of a steamboat built in the "Western Rivers" style of construction.  (I'm taking this from the museum write-up :) Basically, it is a type of steamboat with a shallow hull that could navigate through the shallow waters of the Mississippi River.
Wynne finished up her scavenger hunt by finding this big red wheel.  Guess what it does?  It pumps water from the river into the boat to be turned into steam (which powers the whole boat)!
I have a new internet diversion called Pic Monkey.  It's probably been around for a few years, but I stumbled upon it from a teacher website and guess what?  I heart Pic Monkey.  It lets you do really cool effects on your this one of the kids!  I love this picture of them!

Truly, some of our best family trips are within a few hours of home.  :)

The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.--Psalm 121:8


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