We finally got organized and scheduled a group program at the Upcountry History Museum that corresponds with their exhibit “Treasure!” Having opened in October we really should have visited earlier, as it was the perfect thrill for these pirate-loving, geocaching, treasure-hunting kids.
Our field trip included storytime and drawing in the classroom, with a discussion on what the children consider their treasures. A map was drawn – it turns out the treasure is buried under the x on an outer space beach island covered with shells and apple-palm trees with scary monkeys hanging from them, protected by shark infested waters. To reach the island you must take a fish rocket ship and follow the path marked…
The kids utilized treasure maps to explore the exhibit, using the clues given to find five different displays and learn about that aspect of treasure. Subjects ranged from the history of treasures and treasure hunting, the technology employed in hunting treasure, as well as the people and personalities that hunt for treasure, ensuring the adults learned something as well. But since the program was aimed at kindergarteners, emphasis was placed on the interactive portions of the exhibit: the gold rushes of the Old West, pirate treasure, underwater salvage and family heirlooms in the attic.
Once the official 90 minute lesson was over we were left to our own devices. Lauris settled in at his favorite part, the pirate ship. Complete with cannons for sinking enemy ships, I was informed we “need one at home.” One station on the ship provided the opportunity to smell things often associated with pirates (such as gunpowder), a tad more tame than the similar olfactory display Grossology at the neighboring Children’s Museum.
Mikus preferred the modern underwater submersible, mobile via remote control. Flexible to swim in all directions, the kids quickly found that the camera could be aimed outside the tank for a sort of reality thrill-cam.
My favorite station was panning for gold – it’s not every day that the museum encourages water play indoors!
Modern treasure hunting was represented by a geocaching station, complete with a pretend geocache; to really make the exhibit interactive they should have placed a puzzle cache at the location! (Although if you’re really in a mood to geocache for treasure, “The Hunt for Treasure” cache is very close by!)
The exhibit will be around until February 1st so you still have time to discover this treasure for yourself. Be sure to swing over to the related “Hidden History: The Upcountry’s Underwater Treasures” exhibit for tours of the colonial Fort Prince George and Attakulla Lodge, hidden beneath Lake Jocassee and Keowee. And if you would like more information on scheduling a group program for the exhibit, please visit the Upcountry History Museum’s website here.