Teachable Moments

Even before the “official” start of the 2019 season, the Fifth Maine Museum hosted seven school field trips. Local students ranging in age from fourth grade through twelfth enjoyed the combination of a ferry boat ride and an engaging museum visit.

Backpacks piled up outside the museum’s front door.

Several of the Fifth Maine Museum board members and our curator, Holly Hurd-Forsyth, have experience as museum educators, and they do a terrific job of providing age-appropriate content to the students.

Board member Dick Macguire encourages visiting high school students to investigate the artifacts in the displays around the main hall.

The younger students tend to focus on three or four “cool” items in the collection and are always interested in the view off the porch. For older students, actually seeing the items described in their text books (such as kepis, haversacks, or hardtack) helps to define days gone by. It’s an eye-opening experience.

The battle flag was a big hit with the fourth and fifth graders.

Board member Peter Bridgford commented that the learning isn’t a one-way street. “In reading the names etched into the windows, the kids and I noticed many duplicate last names – names of brothers or cousins. It dawned on me that the Union Army of 1861 was slightly different than the army of today that is recruited from all over the country. The young men in each Company of the Fifth Maine Regiment would most likely have come from the same place. These soldiers would have grown up together and probably knew each other before the war. We talked about how losing a fellow soldier in battle must have really affected the young men – it really hit me.”

Peter Bridgford explains the Fifth Maine Museum’s iconic stained glass windows.

Almost all classroom field trips share a couple things in common – lunch on the porch and a class picture on the steps. Classroom teachers that are interested in coming to the Fifth Maine Museum for a field trip can find out more details here.

Lunch with a million dollar view!

The Fifth Maine Museum steps have been in thousands of photographs over the years!