Monday, May 11, 2009

Doors Open Hamilton 2009

The first weekend of May brings Doors Open Hamilton to our city. We mark it on our calendar each year and each year we try to see one or two new places. For those of you who missed out or do not live in Hamilton, Door's Open is an Ontario wide program. You can look at the Doors Open Ontario website to see if your city offers this program and what weekend it is offered. With Rob not working the coming year maybe we'll have to spread our wings and check out a few other not so far away cities.

Mohawk Trail School Museum

This year was no except and we even managed to make it to three different places. We started our morning off at the Mohawk Trail School Museum. This is just a small one room school house but the kids really enjoyed this stop since it was hands on. They could get up close to tiems and were allowed to touch many of them, sit in the desks, write on the slate tablets, etc. I think they would have been happy to stay there for a good part of the day. For a while Marietta was the teacher and Rebecca the student and they learned a few things about how teachers and students acted in those days (students had to stand beside there desk to respond to a question, repeat the question and then give the answer).

Matthew also had a lot of fun while there and I was thankful that they were able to walk around and touch things as he doesn't like much the idea of being confined and would not have lasted long otherwise.

Matthew drew a bit of attention from the photographer of the local newspaper and had his picture taken several times. The girls also managed to find themselves in front of the camera and were quite thrilled at the possibility of being in the paper. None of them made it into the paper, but you can view some pictures of them on a slideshow that appears on the papers website. Click here.

Eco House/Glen Manor
After lunch and putting Matthew down for a nap the girls and I headed out for our next stop at the EcoHouse. This was Marietta pick. I had explained to her a bit about what they would likely find there and that she may not find it all that interesting, but she still wanted to go ... so away we went. The EcoHouse is an old home (formerly Glen Manor) that has been redone into a educational place about being environmentally friend. As you walk through the home it has various displays and items showing you the different between the not-so-energy or environmentally friend and the environmentally friendly option. It will also at times outline the cost differents (e.g. regular lightbulbs vs flourescent vs LED). A lot of what we seen was just common knowledge and/or things we do in our house automatically (recyling, composting, gardening, using energy efficient appliances). Some of the stuff there was interesting but not visible for the average home (solar energy).

They also had a special display on about the history of the toilet. We found this interesting, although Rebecca was very lost of the whole concept of the chamber pot and I don't know now many times I had to explain it to her ... she eventually understood. We also found the history of toilet paper very interesting. I always wondered what people used to use ... probably best I just didn't know. I had known that newspaper was used, but the average family did not get a newspaper. Supposedly in America the common items used were corncobs, grass, leaves. The Romans were supposedly pretty smart as they would use a sponge on a stick (left in a pail beside the toilet). Our next stop that day (Battlefield) taught us that they would use leftover scraps of material cut into small pieces and would wash them once they ran out ... sort of like cloth diapers. All in all it was a bit interesting and left me very thankful for the nice cushy soft stuff we use now.

Checking out the different between a low-flow showerhead and regular shower head as well as a water saving toilet and the regular water-flow toilet.

An example of what thee first toilet paper was like ... this was very course material. Toilet paper used to be an item that storekeepers would keep behind the counter in a discreet not-seen place ... it just was not publically acceptable to have it sitting on the shelves. It was originally sold as individual square piece packaged in a box.

Battlefield House Museum and Park
Since I figured the girls wouldn't be all that thrilled with the EcoHouse I decided to also make a stop at Battlefield House Museum if time allowed (as in, if Rob hadn't called yet to let me know that Matthew was done napping). The girls did find the EcoHouse a bit interesting, mostly due to the special toilet display, but it didn't take us long to go through the place so we still headed off to Battlefield.

This was also a well enjoyed stopped. Marietta had already been to Battlefield for a class trip in Grade 2, which was much more involved then on Doors Open when you can only peek in the rooms and there is no actual guide, although there are people around to answer questions. Marietta has a great fascination with the pioneer days (as does her mother) so she loves anything to do with learning about how the pioneers lived.

In comparison to Dundurn Castle this place seems quite plain and doesn't seem all that "rich", but the Gage family lived in relative comfort ... although not with servants while living at this location ... either way it is definitely a different lifestyle.

Below is a picture of the parlour as well as Rebecca trying out a neat game that was played during the pioneer days. With a spinning top the object of the game is to knock down the pegs that are standing. The points you get depends on which pegs you knock down and where they are located.

After having a look around the house we moved outside to check out the monument that was erected in memory of the Battle of Stoney Creek. The monument was erected 100 years after the Battle of 1812. The girls were disppointted that they were not able to climb all the way up to the top. It looks like at one point you were able to, but for now the stairs going to the top are closed off.

Halfway through our walk around the monument Rob called to tell us Matthew was awake and it was time for us to come home so he could remain focused on his studies. It was a nice day with the kids, especially with the girls who always enjoy these outtings .. and the weather was gorgeous!!

No comments: