No TV, I'm fine

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I recently gave an educational tour to second graders from Stonebridge School in Chesapeake, Va.  We are in the International Small Craft Center, and I am explaining to them about the Sampan boat from the Far East.  This boat would be used for a water taxi or small cargo, (like a UPS driver) and that the boat was like a houseboat for the family.  I explained that the family gathered back in the boat for the evening.  I asked them “what did the family do for entertainment?  Did they play Scrabble or Apples-to-Apples or watch TV?”  They remarked “no TV!”  At that point, a bright little boy said ” I DON’T HAVE A TV, AND I AM FINE!”  At that moment, I felt like Art Linkletter!

Just another example how being Docent/Educator can be fun and surprising!

Visitor Experience – The Library of Congress

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I recently had the pleasure of greeting ladies from The Library of Congress, (Juretta, Susan, & Kris) who were in town for the Virginia Forum at Christopher Newport University.  They had  been to The Mariners’ Museum on Thursday for a meeting and dinner and had time for a small sampling of the treasures of the museum. They decided it would be a good opportunity for a further look.  They were especially interested in The Monitor Center, and I was pleased to provide them with a few of the in-depth aspects of the center and the historic Battle of Hampton Roads.  I also gave them a view of our new and innovative slide-show highlighting the other galleries.  What a joy to have real scholars who are interested in what the museum has to offer.  I expect to see them on a return visit in the future.

Visitor Experience – Seeds of History

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When I give school group tours, I always tell the students that we can only see a part of the museum, and that they should come with their family and spend more time, as there are lot of great history related things to see here. Recently, I was giving a tour to some 5th graders from Williamsburg, and gave them the usual welcome back and bring their family.   The next day, on a Saturday, a young student came in with his mother, his soccer practice having been  rained out.  He and his mother co-mingled in the tour I was giving with some adults, and the young student seemed to know all the answers to the question inter-play.  I said “have you been here before?”.  He answered that he had been in my school tour the day before!

Some where along the line the “seeds of history” had been planted. What a nice feeling!

Visitor Experience – School Group from Kentucky

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I recently had the pleasure of giving tours to some young elementary students from Kentucky, and while I was waiting,  I told them that I enjoyed giving these tours and teaching history to them. Especially since I was a grandfather of nine and enjoyed them so much over the years, and that when I was their age,  I had no grandfathers. They had both died. One little girl spoke and said “I did not have grandfathers either.” I said “how about if I be your grandfather today!” A second little student stepped forward and said “I did not have grandfathers either”. Needless to say, I filled up over this experience.

This is another reason that being a docent is so gratifying at The Mariners’ Museum.

Building (Still) Better Ships

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Improvements since the 1930’s of Skinner’s Paintings

The term “Better ships” in the exhibit’s title begs the question: “Better than what?” Better might be the result of cheaper to own & operate through better (more focused on economics) designs. The original motto of Newport News Shipbuilding was:   Read more