Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Old Florida Museum, St. Augustine, Florida

My fourth grader took her Florida history field trip. The newly relocated Old Florida Museum was divided into Native American, Spanish and British sections with lots of hands on activities.

I learned a great deal. For instance, did you know that the Timucua Indians were tall, averaging six feet in height? And in the circa 1780, British one-room schoolhouse we heard about two skills that were heavily emphasized at that time that have definitely fallen by the wayside. Those skills were penmanship and riddle solving. The reenactor teacher wrote "SILK" on the blackboard and then asked what cows drink. The answer is not milk. She wrote "ROAST" and asked what you put in a toaster. The answer is not toast. Toast is what you take out of a toaster. She posed several other riddles including this one, "What has four legs but only one foot?" The answer to that one is at the end of this post.*

I also learned that the United States purchased Florida from Spain for five million dollars in 1819. Let's see, by comparison, the Louisiana purchase in 1803 equaled about 15 million dollars. Hey, what are we, chopped liver?

Shannon’s memory was refreshed regarding how the state got its name. Juan Ponce de León spotted our peninsula on April 2, 1513 and named it La Florida after the Spanish word for flower. Being spring, flowers were in bloom and it was also the Easter season, which the Spaniards called Pascua Florida (Festival of Flowers). So for one or both of these reasons, that is why we call our state Florida.

Following are some pictures I was able to take of Shannon. Sorry I did not get any pictures of corn grinding or canoe making in the Timucua section, but I was busy applying face paint.

Spanish Period: Here is Shannon using the pump drill (a precursor to the electric drill), crushing oysters that will be mixed with lime, sand and water to make tabby for floors and walls and dipping candles.

British Period: Shannon pumped water and washed clothes (all the girls gravitated toward this for some reason), worked on her penmanship in the schoolhouse and plowed.

*bed :–)

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