Yesterday was a new kind of adventure.
I took my two boys (Muggins, 4 months, and Asher, 7 years) — along with Asher’s best bud Rylee (an 8-year-old girl who proclaims most new days to be the Best. Day. Ever.) — on a field trip to the Big Horn County Historical Museum in Hardin, Montana. The museum was hosting a special day for elementary-age students and we were invited as part of our homeschool co-op.
The extensive grounds of the museum are filled with historical buildings that have been moved in from their original locations. Like this old church (Oh! The sign!):
And this schoolhouse:
On the days the museum hosts for students, groups of kids rotate around the grounds, learning from instructors stationed in the various buildings. There was a trading post where kids could buy dime candy and dill pickles. There was a blacksmith shop where a tattooed man built a nail over a fire. A cook-shack where the kids learned about making bread. A doctor’s office, complete with a couple wonderful actors playing out the roles of doctor and nurse reacting to frontier emergencies. There was a barn, outside of which stood a wooden cow rigged up with calf-bottle nipples for a bag. Kids stood in line just waiting for their chance to milk that wooden cow.
Needless to say, a museum celebrating Western history is right up Asher’s alley. And it only helped that General George Armstrong Custer greeted us as soon as we arrived:
I don’t know why Asher thought it was appropriate to wear his chinks to the museum. There is no time for such questions in my life — I was too busy, as we left the house in the morning, carrying his three sleeping siblings out to their carseats and trying to make sure I’d packed all the appropriate clothing for each sleeping kid in their respective bags — to ask him why he was costumed as a cowboy. You see, Asher can dress himself, and by golly that’s good enough for me.
The grounds at the museum are absolutely beautiful:
Shortly after I took this picture, I heard someone hollering my name; it was Crystal, my classmate from kindergarten through high school graduation, who I rarely see these days. She was at the museum with a group of her students from a school west of Billings. It was so fun to catch up with her… and with many other moms like me whom I hadn’t seen through a long winter of bad weather and baby-mooning.
A final, and favorite, stop for the day was the studio of cowboy artist and author Will James:
You may remember that Asher has his own leanings toward art, and in the clumsy evolution of my teaching style and trying to figure out his learning style, I’ve made it a goal to study art with him through studying favorite artists. The obvious place to start, it seems to me, is with the likes of Will James and Charlie Russell.
Oh — and we sure have enjoyed reading James’ books Big-Enough and Smoky the Cowhorse aloud in our family in recent months.
Right after the picture above was taken, Rylee somehow dropped the pickle she’d purchased at the trading post, and it landed far inside the “for viewing only” area of Will James’ art studio.
Seriously — best. Day. Ever.
© Tami Blake