I won’t lie. My son did not want to come with me to tour Hazelwood Historic House Museum. In the end, finding a time when both of us could go and forcing him to come with me was just too much work. I went alone and I loved it.
Looking at the1800s Greek Revival house filled with antiques, it’s not immediately clear that Hazelwood is a good field trip destination for adults as well as kids. With a bit of a perspective change, it’s perfect for kids. Here’s why.
Did you just do a double take? I did too, but seriously, it’s a good opportunity to talk about the human body as art. Matt, my tour guide, suggested using the nudity in period paintings as an opportunity to talk about appropriate nudity (nudity in art) vs. inappropriate nudity. Maybe, maybe, if I introduce the topic when touring Hazelwood, he’ll be able to walk through an art museum without giggling uncontrollably. One can only hope.
Manners & Etiquette
Another parenting opportunity presents itself at Hazelwood. Whether they’re attending a fairy tea party or just touring the home, it’s a great time for children to brush up on their manners & etiquette. Children will see others use good manners and etiquette as well as be required to be polite themselves. Hazelwood really lends itself to encouraging polite behavior: look, don’t touch, don’t interrupt, listen politely, raise your hand before speaking and taking turns are all expected behaviors.
Make the 1800s relevant to your child by connecting the home and the historical period to your child’s American Girl doll. Caroline (1812), Marie-Grace and Cecile (1853) and Addy (1864) are all from the 1800s. Their stories take place across the United States but see if your children can find similarities between their dolls’ stories and the Morgan family stories. Invite your children to bring their dolls with them on the tour.
Keep those antsy kiddos focused with this visual scavenger hunt. P has a hard time keeping his body still on tours like this. Sometimes an activity like a scavenger hunt keeps his focus and gives his body (fingers and hands) something to do.
A Beautiful Backyard
Once your kids make it through the tour, they can celebrate by rolling down the hill or you can borrow Hazelwood’s croquet set and play the game as a family. You can even bring a picnic to eat on the back lawn.
P would have enjoyed Hazelwood and I will take him (willingly or no) next time. Will it be relaxing to take a third grader with me to Hazelwood? No, but if we don’t take our children to these kinds of learning places we’re silently telling them that these places aren’t important, relevant or interesting.
For more on my adult tour of Hazelwood, read my recent piece on WhooNEW, Hazelwood: A Slice of Green Bay History Hidden in Plain Sight.