{August 15, 2012}   Hands-On History Lesson

It’s not that I haven’t been trying new things for my 47 and fearless project recently. It’s that I’ve been lax in blogging about them. So I’m going to remedy that by writing about several of them this week. (You’ve been warned.)

A few weeks ago, my husband and I spent an afternoon with our boys at Old World Wisconsin in Eagle, Wisconsin. Although it opened in 1976 and my mom even worked there as a costumed interpreter for a time, I’d never been to this amazing outdoor museum.

According to its web site: “Old World Wisconsin’s historic farm and village buildings comprise the world’s largest museum dedicated to the history of rural life. … The museum’s more than 60 historic structures range from ethnic farmsteads with furnished houses and rural outbuildings to a crossroads village with its traditional small-town institutions.”

We arrived on a gorgeous summer day and were lucky to catch the first few innings of a vintage baseball game between the Eagle Diamonds, based on the 1860s Waukesha Diamonds team, and the Lemont Quarrymen from Illinois.

Vintage baseball recreates “the styles, speech, rules and terminology of the 1860s game. It’s not only a competitive game, but also a re-enactment of baseball life, similar to an American Civil War re-enactment.”

Players don’t wear gloves to catch the balls, and after the ball is hit, it can bounce once and be caught to be considered an out.

The home team had a rough first inning, but turned it around in the second inning with more than a dozen runs. Though we didn’t stay until the end, the Diamonds were victorious, winning 31-7.

From there, we explored many of the farms and homes on the nearly 600-acre site. The boys had a great time learning children’s games–including a hoop tossing game called “graces”—at the Crossroads Village and trying their hand at splitting wood and making wooden shingles at the Koepsell Farm in the German area.

We also watched a blacksmith demonstrate his craft, learned how sheep’s wool is spun into yarn, explored a one-room school house, took a peek at different farm animals, used a hand-grinder to grind grain, and toured homes, farms and thriving gardens.

It was a great hands-on way to learn history, and Dylan declared the whole day “awesome!” I can’t argue with that!


momtuft says:

More, More, More! I am having a vicarious experience and enjoying every minute. My daughter has been seeing first hand what it means to have to bring up children in a single parent home as she tries to help them. In doing so, she has learned how valuable a stable home environment has meant to her as she grew up. We actually got a thank you for that. I can only hope, that some day your boys will understand how exceedingly valuable their stable upbringing in a home with two loving parents has meant to them. This experience at Old World is a wonderful way to share your family values in an environment of fun and learning. Great job Julie and Doug! Love ya! Sue

That is fabulous, Sue! How wonderful to know that Marie appreciates all that you and Eric have done for her! Smart girl! I’m guessing Doug and I have a few years (decades?) before our boys get to that point. But that gives us that much time to enjoy raising them!

Dolores Kastello says:

Those were the days. Some very familiar sights, but I was there years ago, and there are many more new “old” buildings since then. Very seldom did we have time to actually do ‘hands-on’ with our guests. Glad you and the boys enjoyed it.

You should come with us next time to see what’s changed. We didn’t get to see everything, and Dylan would like to go again. Maybe this fall or next summer?

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