Thursday, July 02, 2015

Day 2 - Exploring the Library at Mount Vernon

A little work at the library

Today was my first formal day as a Life Guard Teacher Fellow at Mount Vernon. The focus for the day was getting familiar with the resources at the Fred W. Smith Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon.

My first meeting of the day was with Mary Thompson. Mary is a research historian at Mount Vernon and I had a meeting with her to discuss my project on creating archaeology lesson plan for middle school classrooms.  She provided me with a couple of ideas on some real world situations that I could use later as I develop my lesson.  One of interesting portions of my discussion with Mary was discovering that Washington had bison here at Mount Vernon at the time of his death and at one point thought that he could use bison as draft animals. 

After lunch I had a tour of the Fred W. Smith Library for the Study of George Washington with Sarah Myers.  I had an abbreviated tour last September when I attended the Missouri Teachers Weekend but this tour was much more extensive. The Rare Books and Manuscripts were amazing including the original Rembrandt Peale portrait of Washington and books which belonged to Washington.

Peale portrait of Washington in Rare Books and Manuscripts Room

In the vault with books from Washington's private collection from Mount Vernon

Sarah also explained to me the procedures for accessing different resources located both physically in the library as well as the databases which are accessible only while at the library.  The library also has a very nice copier which allows for easy coping of books.

Copier for easily making scans of books

My final meeting of the day was with Allison Wickens, Vice President for Education at Mount Vernon, to discuss how the meetings throughout the day went and discussion about my lesson plan and potential meetings with other staff and researchers here at Mount Vernon.

Overall it was a great day becoming familiar with the multitude of material and resources available to me while I am here as a fellow.  I have a good plan in place and am ready to start exploring archaeology from a hand on approach.  

In in the evening was fortunate enough to meet up with the Fryer family - Wes, Shelly and Rachel - for dinner in Alexandria.  I have known Wes for a long time and I consider him to be one of my ed tech yodas.  Wes lives in Oklahoma and was visiting DC after a stop at ISTE in Philadelphia last week.  Crazy that both of us midwesterners have to go to DC to meet up and have dinner! I had a great time and was so happy to be able to see the Fryer family.

Exploring old town Alexandria with the Fryer family

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