Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Huntsville's Early Works Museum: A Field Trip To Remember

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Early Works Museum in Huntsville, Alabama

       My wife encouraged me to write this blog. I came home and vented to her about how I felt about Timmy's field trip to Huntsville, Alabama's Early Works Museum. I had vented and then as my wife can tell you, I'm pretty much over the matter. She had a better idea. She said, "You need to write a blog about this trip." This is that blog.
       We arrived in Huntsville at 10 a.m., which is about an hour east of where we live. The first stop was in Constitution Village which happens to be an example of early Alabama life. I was alright with our first stop which happened to feature a guy playing the part of John Coffee. The next stop is where I first became perturbed. An elderly gentleman passed out a piece of paper with the Alabama State Flag without any colors. He asked, "What color is the Alabama flag?" My son Timmy raises his hand and gives the correct answer. The fellow then asks, "Where did that cross originate?" Timmy again raised his hand, but another kid was called on. This boy answered, "It was designed like the Confederate flag." This is a known fact, but this guy is either ignorant or chose to be politically correct. He told the kid that he was wrong. He said, "Alabama became a state in 1819, way before the Confederacy existed, so it can't be based on the Confederate flag." He then proceeds into a long story about how people from Scotland had settled around Montgomery as his theory of where the flag came from. Then the guy begins to contradict himself. He said, "This flag of Alabama came into existence in 1892." This is about 30 years after the Confederacy. 
       My old high school history teacher was the bus driver for this trip. He and I began to discuss what this man had said. My teacher shook his head and said, "I'm not sure if they are being politically correct or they truly believe what they are teaching." I'm proud to say my old history teacher was disappointed in the way this country is becoming regarding Southern history and being politically correct. It is an attack on history. If history offends one group of people, then we must rewrite it. 

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The Confederate Battle Flag and the Alabama State Flag

       The field trip then proceeded to the Early Works Museum. I understand the museum is set up for children, but I found a lot in the museum that made little sense to me. The tour guide discussed Alabama history to some degree. She spent almost five minutes discussing Native American history in Alabama. The Civil War was quickly passed over. (Dad and I found a small machine hidden away in the corner of a small room that had you match Civil War leaders with their bio's, of course it was unplugged and useless.) 
       African American history lasted forty-five minutes and the mistreatment of slaves by Southerners was repeated over and over. There were talking tree's, talking clocks, about 50 stuffed dogs that had very little to do with our state's history. 

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The talking tree that traumatized my son and his best friend

       It wasn't only the lack of history, there was some history, but because so many schools had scheduled field trips there on the same day, everything became discombobulated. Groups were running into each other, tour guides arguing over where they should be, and there was no order to the timeline of history. 
       I told my old high school history teacher that I loved museums, especially history museums, but this one had done absolutely nothing for me. He agreed and mentioned that he would like to get out of there in the next fifteen minutes. I can't say it was the worst field trip I'd been on (that trip was to see the movie "Curious George" with my oldest son some ten years ago, which I slept through it was so boring), but it wasn't at all what I expected. If you can't teach history truthfully, then just don't teach it at all is what I believe.