Centennial Elementary fourth graders frolicked around four exhibits of History Colorado, which is not even half of the museum! Angel, our group leader, encouraged kids to come back again to visit everything else. Four groups saw, touched, and listened to a variety of interactive exhibits.
Our tour began in historic Keota, where kids completed tasks of the time period. Remember what chores you did to keep the community running smoothly? Students milked cows, gathered eggs, bought groceries, edited yearbooks, and made quilts. The exhibit housed a whirlwind of activity, even though Keota, Colorado, is now an abandoned town!
In the Silverton mine, Angel divided layers of an old lunchbox, and kids laughed as he imitated drinking tea with grace. Through the rattling elevator, enthralled youth embarked on miners’ daily routines of mucking, drilling, and blasting. Students scoped out interpretive signs and reported new factoids to earn their way into the blasting room. The group completed a dynamite puzzle, then raised and lowered the plunger… Thunk! Crumble, crumble.
Next students traveled through time to a famous trading post: Bent’s Fort. They loved to feel and interact with real animal skins that kept Coloradoans warm. Remember the intricate, patterned beadwork on Native American goods? Students smiled and exclaimed as they fiddled with artifacts.
Angel led us upstairs for a miraculous view of Colorado’s watersheds. There was a neat metal statue of the major rivers dotted with small figures of skiers, dinosaurs, and cliff dwellings. From above we could see the stone floor—a topographical map of Colorado.
During the Great Depression, Colorado homesteaders were given acres of land, which they could keep for free as long as they developed a community and farmed the land. With this goal people accidentally ruined the topsoil, and we experienced that aftermath in the Dust Bowl exhibit. Kids gasped at the conditions of drought and screamed when a dust storm simulation enveloped the house in darkness!
Kids verbalized that they wished to spend all day in the museum, and they loved spending time outside the classroom. Thanks, History Colorado and Angel, for offering such involved programming, and thanks teachers for bringing your students on a SOLE field trip. Much appreciation goes to Great Outdoors Colorado for funding these excellent excursions.