Mrs AWB and I took Granddaughter to York today, there was an exhibition on at the The Castle Museum. She's not really spent a lot of time in a museum and we thought this, if anything, would interest her and give us a good idea as to whether it would be the kind of place we could take her in the future.
One thing about 'historical places of interest' is this; they usually provide decent activity books for the youngsters to get them involved. They are fantastic. We've used them with Granddaughter in Stately Homes on occasion; never in a museum.
She was enthralled. But I'm not sure it was the historical artifacts and what not that did it for her. No. It was the whole experience. She had her little book and during our tour she would diligently fill it in. While we would be wandering around looking at the exhibits I would look about me to find her sitting on a seat filling her little book or taking in some view of a seventeenth century dining room or some such. She seemed to enter into the whole thing.
Yet she only entered stuff into her book that interested her and if it was beyond her she made it up. She wasn't really interested in the detail. The accuracy of the facts presented mattered not a jot.
She was happy to soak up the atmosphere, to be in a new environment with two people she trusted and loved. As I scanned the information boards with half an eye I realised she was doing exactly as I do, have always done.
I remember as a child of about her age being taken to places like that. I wasn't always interested in the things they had but what those little trips did do for me was this; they allowed me to enter my own secret world. While mum and dad were poring over some bit of old pot I'd be day dreaming about......well, anything really...between looking at something that caught my eye and my fantasies. They were....and still are........the perfect kind of places for me.
I amble through some of them reading this, reading that. Maybe examining something that catches my eye. I'm also daydreaming, Wandering through my mind and imagination. I'll get to the end of a corridor and realise I've only looked at a tenth of what was in it.........and feel a little guilty at being such a Philistine.
But hey, aren't these places meant to trigger thoughts and not be merely a conduit for facts and figures of times gone by? What is the use of statistical information without the imagination to turn it into pictures.
Some things stuck in my mind about our visit. Granddaughter with her head in her book in 'Kirkgate'; the famous street they have in the museum. The presentation by Samuel Adams dressed up as a regency butler (you can see him in the link) giving a lecture on high class dining of the period in the kind of speech they used then; it was funny and fascinating..............and left me with an image that those people must have been pissed out of their minds at the end of these very complex and formal affairs. The shout of 'Grandma' or 'Granda' as Granddaughter found something interesting. Searching a Juke Box to pick and listen to the Animals' 'House of the Rising Sun' in the sixties street.......that was good.
But most of all....................a happy child at the end of a three hour slow trawl through the place; you know, that awful aching back you get when walking at 'that pace'. Many kids would have been bored witless and whinged appropriately.
We went for a lazy meal and then off to a 'Designer Outlet'...............only long enough to get me a winter proof thingy at a huge reduction.
A lovely day.