This is the tenth in a series of guest posts by Abigail Van Gelder (from a stop Oct. 26–27 in Washington, Ill.), who with her husband, Josh, is journeying across the country on the Library’s “Gateway to Knowledge” traveling exhibition:
From the time that Gateway to Knowledge left Detroit, Josh and I have been looking forward to our show in Washington, IL. For anyone who travels like we do, it’s very special to bring an exhibit to your home state.
Yes, folks, we both hail from the giant cornfields and prairies that Abraham Lincoln loved. So you would think that we would not have been surprised by our greeting of wind advisories and tornado watches.
Everyone at both MRA and LOC were glad to hear we didn’t blow away and that none of our guests did either. As a matter of fact, the wind didn’t seem to keep anyone away. A few of the guests who came by were friends of ours from college who have settled in the area. It was great to get to show them what we do. Words and pictures are hard do this exhibit justice. It needs to be experienced.
Our event location was at a facility called 5 Points. This is a reference to it being shared facilities of the library community and fitness center and nearby schools. It is a very unique arrangement that guarantees it to be a hub of activity.
Hundreds of people were coming and going throughout the entire day. It was impressive to see how the combining of community buildings benefited the whole.
This stop also included visits from the local 3rd and 5th grade classes; talking about history with 250 school kids is a pretty fun way to pass the day.
Unlike Josh, I have not spent any time in the classroom as a teacher and had no idea how inquisitive 3rd graders could be.
The 5th grade students came in the second day armed with a scavenger hunt worksheet and set to exploring the exhibit for answers. Josh gave they them an introduction and laid out some ground rules before turning them loose. It was organized chaos, but it is so much fun to be in thick such exuberent learners. We gave them lots of help without giving away any answers. That age group is a lot of fun to be around.