Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Field Trip to Mordecai House

This was one of our April field trips - when the weather was crazy and it was a cold morning.  It was a beautiful day and a great time to be on a field trip!

We visited the Mordecai House in Raleigh which is a former plantation and the oldest house in the city on its original foundation.  Several other buildings have been moved to this site including the home which is the site of the birthplace of Andrew Johnson, President of the United  States.

At one time this house was on one of the largest farms in the area - over 5000 acres.  Part of the original land was sold in 1792 to the city of Raleigh as the site of the new capital city.

You can read more about the history of the house here.

 As is often the case, we split into 3 groups based on age.  Due to need for a chaperone in the middle age group, Eliana and I were able to tag along with this group!  We did 3 different things while on site and each group just rotated through things.

These are some of the buildings that have been moved to the site.  I was able to go into one of them because Eliana went to check it out and let herself in!  I thought it would be locked and didn't bother to stop her from going to the door.  I think she is going to continue to open doors for me in ways that I don't expect!  :-)

We visited the small green building on the left.

We went into the home that was the birthplace of Andrew Johnson, 17th President of the United States.  We learned more about him from his boyhood to his time in office.
 I enjoy hearing stories about people as that is what makes  history really come alive!

 The house is a very modest one.
 We were able to go inside and look at some period artifacts as we listened to the stories about President Johnson.
 The next activity was so much fun!  This was a new event for our group - a trolley tour of Raleigh!

 We are all ready for a ride!
 Again, we heard LOTS of stories - things from distant as well as more recent past.  From Sir Walter Raleigh to the performing arts center.  I loved later talking to my older boys as they wanted to compare stories about what we had seen and learned about.  I remain convinced that stories are a great way to learn!
 After our trolley tour, it was time to tour the house.  It is a beautiful home!
 The group of "middles" in front of the house.
 The library/family room of the house.  We looked at artifacts in each of the rooms and tried to figure out what they were.  The children were able to figure out some of them!  And they were excited too when they did!
 The wide  hallway where you can see evidences (in person) of where an addition was made to the house.
 Formal dining room.

 Sitting in one of the bedrooms.  It was warming up by  now and I was wearing a coat and holding Eliana so that she didn't wander where she shouldn't.  And she fell asleep!  What a heavy load she is now too!
 One of the upstairs bedrooms.
 Isaiah looking through an old fashioned "view master".  I can't remember the correct name of it.  (I should go look in the old Samantha books as I'm pretty sure that she had one of these.)
 Another bedroom.  With the "bathtub" in the middle of the floor!  Certainly seeing historic sites gives you reasons to give thanks for modern conveniences.

 Eliana liked having "Perry" on the tour with us.
 While outside we toured some of the grounds and gardens and learned about what had been planted on this homestead.  Eliana woke up for this which was great timing!

 This bell was connected to the dining room so that it could be rung when something was needed from the kitchen.
 While in the kitchen we learned more about the home and people that lived and worked there.  This is an actual photograph of the home and one of the slaves standing in front to it.

 The kitchen was in a separate building behind the house (to help prevent fires).  We learned about some of the tools used.  For example, on the far left of this picture is something that was used to press the bread dough which helped them to make better breads.  (We had all guessed some type of iron or press.)
 The activity was an archeological hunt.  Each child had a box, paint brush and popsicle stick.  The latter two items were their tools to be used in trying to unearth artifacts.
 They were told to look for 3 items that then try to determine to whom each item belonged.
 This was a great activity for ALL ages!
 Inside the boxes were a chipped piece of a plate (plantation owner), a cowrie shell (slave) and a coin (plantation owner).
 The goal was to dig gently with the popsicle stick and then use the brush to get the sand off of the item.  You can see the coin peeking out in the box below.
After our tour, we stayed and had a picnic on the beautiful grounds.  It was such a lovely day!  

It was a wonderful tour and the guides did an excellent job!!!  Highly recommend this site!