"'Education is the Science of Relations'; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of––
'Those first-born affinities,
That fit our new existence to existing things.'"

Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education
with a quote from The Prelude by William Wordsworth

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Gardner Museum

Another wonderful field trip we took this week was to the Gardner Museum.  Back in the late 19th and early the 20th century, Isabella Stewart Gardner used her wealth to collect art.  She then build the museum to house her impressive collection and show it to the world.  She had to expand the building once in her lifetime.  The gorgeous new wing, a contemporary building built beside the original and now the official entrance, just opened about a month ago.

Upon her death she left an endowment for the museum with the stipulation that the art be left as she placed

All children up to age 18 are always free. Typically adult admission is $15, but visiting with my mother and aunt we again made use of a library pass that allowed up to 4 adults to be admitted for $5 each.  The museum is well worth it.

The boys did really enjoy the art and wondering through the many rooms.  Everyone was impress with the beautiful courtyard mosaic and garden at the center of it all.  We may go again with our history co-op as we are studying the late middle ages/early renaissance and the museum has an abundance of pieces from this period.

The museum was the target of a highly publicized and yet unsolved theft in 1990 when 13 pieces were stolen including two by Rembrandt.   The empty frames remain on the wall keeping vigil in hopes of their contents' return.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Constitution Museum

We are on a two-week break from our typical schooling schedule.  Taking advantage of museum passes, we are taking some field trips to area museums.  Today we visited the Constitution Museum at the Charlestown Navy Yard.  While we couldn't board her, we did get to walk beside the U.S.S. Constitution.

We needed to go through security in order to enter the visitor center and the part of the yard where she is docked.  We pretty much had the whole place to ourselves, being mid-winter in Boston during school.
One ship we could board was the U.S.S. Cassin Young, a World War II destroyer in dry dock.

We actually first went into the Constitution Museum, a small facility dedicated to facts and artifacts from the ship. The picture to the left was taken near the entrance.

The upstairs is a large hands-on children's center where kids can experience and learn about life at sea in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Ds#2 cleverly set himself up like this for a picture. 

Because today was St. Valentine's Day, the museum had a large spread of pastries, bagels, coffee, and juice for anyone to enjoy.  Mostly they were employees of the museum, visitor center, or military working on the ships, though we enjoyed some of the festivities ourselves!

Even without a pass the museum has a very low admission price, which is even voluntary.  This made a great half-day field trip.