Wednesday was our homeschool trip to the local pioneer village. It was a little smaller than I was expecting. But then again, I grew up just an hour outside of Toronto and am used to Black Creek Pioneer Village and Lang Pioneer Village (just outside of Peterborough). For a town as small as Petawawa is, and as transient as a large part of their population is (CFB Petawawa), it's really a pretty good little pioneer village. They even had a few costumes for the kids and mob caps for all the girls.
The day started off ominously. There were severe thunderstorm warnings with black clouds and thunder in the distance. We weren't getting any rain at home. There's one thing I've learned living up here for 7 years; drive half an hour and the weather's likely different. We passed through some rain and by some really black clouds. By the time we got to Petawawa it was just a light drizzle. The only time it really rained we were in school so it didn't matter.
This is SS# 3 Black Bay school. It's an original building that was moved to the site. The guy playing the school teacher was really good. The only thing is he forgot to give the little people some busy work. So a couple of them got really upset because they couldn't spell the words he wanted. Some ended up in tears.
It's kind of funny when we go to historical places like this. It really shows how close we still are to pioneer/Victorian times. The desk Ella is sitting in is the same as Grandma had in grade school. The desk behind the interpreter (with writing arm and drawer under the seat) is the kind of desk Grandma had in high school and the kind I had in some classes in Senior Public (same building as Grandma's old h.s.).
We moved on to the Molson House (not the beer people). It's a tiny board and batten homestead house. Many of the 'antique tools' in the kitchen are the same as I already have and use or would like to have. Most specifically, the kitchen furniture behind Ella in this picture. This is how I'm going to 'furnish' my kitchen if I ever get a new one. I would love a Hoosier and bake table.
The girls got a washing demonstration. Ella really liked scrubbing the linens and then putting them through the wringer. The interpreter could have been a little more accurate though. She said laundry was done ever 2-3 weeks (what ever happened to Monday wash day) and that people bathed that infrequently too. Yes, people bathed less often than we do now but usually older people talk about their Saturday night baths. AND, just because people only bathe once a week doesn't mean they smell (as she said). I guess the interpreter's never heard about sponge bathing and general washing. Most people I knew that lived at the end of the last century (the time period portrayed) would be highly offended that people are telling children they smell.
At least they didn't tell the children my biggest museum pet peeve. It really bugs me when an interpreter points out the short beds and small clothes and says 'everyone in this period were so much shorter/smaller than we are'. This is so inaccurate. Yes, generally people were shorter, but this doesn't mean they were midgets it means shorter by a few inches. The main reason Victorian beds are shorter is because the Victorians slept with many pillows, trying to keep themselves in an upright position. This was believed to help prevent fluid in the lungs and consumption (tuberculosis). I agree that most vintage clothing that is still around is tiny, but this also has a logical explanation. The large majority of clothing from the Victorian era was passed on, cut down and otherwise recycled. The tiny clothes weren't able to be used by others. It's like when Ella was born, we received many clothes because she was tiny and could easily fit the hand-me-downs. But I am unable to pass on most of Ella's clothes because children/babies are so much bigger/fatter than she is; therefore many of Ella's clothes get packed away and saved.
Next stop was the blacksmith's shop. He did a nice demonstration for the group. The children were all fascinated. I've never seen them all sit so still and so quiet.
We had lunch in the school-house since the ground was so wet and the sky was still threatening rain. After lunch the one interpreter showed everyone how to play the pump organ. Ella was the only one to figure out how to do it herself. She sounded like a professional church organist. I wish we had a piano.
This is Daddy's favourite picture. He was very interested in the miniature steam engine. Ella was quite fascinated with the engine too.
We might go back and take Daddy in August. They have Settler's Day and it sounds quite interesting.