Guest Author - Phyllis Doyle Burns
Planning for vacations can be very easy, or very complicated. It all depends on who is going on the trip and what each person likes to do or see. One thing that many people love to do is visit historical sites and learn what it was like in bygone days. The best way to do this is to visit a living history museum.
A living history museum is a place set up like a village that educates the public of how it was in a particular era of history.
For a unique experience, take just one day of your vacation and get in touch with what life was like in the past.
The Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg, Virginia is a great example of a living history museum. You will see how the Powhatan Indians lived by strolling through a recreation of the village. A recreation of an English fort is also open to the public. There is a replica of the Susan Constant which was captained by Christopher Newport. The ship is docked in the harbor. It is the largest of the three ships that sailed from England on their 1606 - 1607 voyage. The recreated settlement is just right next door to where Jamestown existed, which is now a historical archaeological site. The National Park Service's Colonial Parkway links together the Historic Triangle of Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown.
The Foxfire Museum and Heritage Center in northeast Georgia will take you back to another time and place. You will be able to clearly see how the early settlers lived and get a strong feeling of what Southern Appalachian culture was like. Many of the log cabins throughout the area are authentic. These log cabins had generations of the same family once living in them. You will see how the settlers cooked, how a blacksmith worked, what their church services were like, what tools they used for woodworking and other crafts or repairs -- and just get a real feel for what it was like back then and see what a corn crib is.
The Museum of Appalachia in Norris, Tennessee, is an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. It has more than 30 historic buildings nestled among picturesque pastures and fields on 63 acres of land. The museum has thousands of authentic relics, several barns, and even a gristmill. Mark Twain's family cabin is also a part of the museum.
The Mountain HomePlace in Staffordsville, Kentucky is a recreation of a farming community of the mid 1800s. The farmstead is within the Paintsville Lake State Park. There is an amphitheater where an annual performance of gospel songs can be enjoyed. Demonstrations of old skills and crafts can be watched while touring the farmstead.
Horne Creek Farm Living Historical Farm in Pinnacle, North Carolina is a North Carolina State Historic Site where the 19th century Hauser farmhouse stands. The Hauser Farm is also on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Besides the original farmhouse, there are other buildings, cultivated fields, and a heritage apple orchard. With events and demonstrations it is a great opportunity to learn about how was like farming in the past.
The Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation in Media, Pennsylvania gives visitors a chance for hands-on workshops. Ever use a spinning wheel? It might be fun to learn. Find out what it was like on an 18th century Pennsylvania farm.
All of the museums mentioned in this article can be found online -- so, when planning your vacation, check to see if there is a living history museum in the area you plan to visit.
Visiting a living history museum is an educational experience that will be unique and memorable for all. Once you have some hands-on experience or watch demonstrations of how things were made, cooked, sewn, grown, stored and used back in the early days of settlers you will have a new appreciation for the people who made history.