> Yesterday I took a small sample of material from the Nicholson Whaling collection to a 3rd grade class at the Wheeler School. It’s great good fun to speak in front of a gaggle (about 30) of 8- and 9-year-olds about something they are studying in school, especially when they ask “is that real?!?” and you can say, “yes, this is the real thing!”
The students do a whole unit (3 months) on whaling, including field trips to the New Bedford Whaling Museum (http://www.whalingmuseum.org/) and to Mystic Seaport (http://www.mysticseaport.org/). When their teacher realized that an incredible whaling collection existed right here in Providence, she called me up and asked for a presentation.
The students were great, and the teachers were impressed as well, since my box of goodies included several pieces of scrimshaw (busks, some teeth, two pie crimpers, and a walrus tusk carved with polar bears and seals), three whale stamps, a case which held ship’s papers, a couple of crew lists and “four-language”sea letters, and a logbook that we recently acquired. The kids came up with lots of questions, several of which I couldn’t answer, but that’s the fun of it. They apparently talked about the presentation all through their subsequent lunch break–and who can ask for more than that?