The average reader at the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History is somewhere between thirty and sixty years old and is either a researcher, intern, fellow, or visiting post-doc. So imagine the fun we had hosting a handful of children from the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC), an object-based learning program for kids from nine months to six years old. As part of a segment on the sea, Josh Beasley’s kindergarten class came in to see an early adventure narrative by the 17th century pirate, William Dampier; pictures of albatross from John Gould’s Birds of Australia (1840-1848); and Gustave Doré illustrations of a seafaring ship and albatross in Samuel Coleridge’s Rime of the ancient mariner (1889).
Using their best museum manners, the kids were able to see the books up close and personal. One of the children’s parents is researcher here at the Smithsonian who went on a modern-day scientific expedition on a boat called the The Albatross so it was especially meaningful to the children. As for the staff…well we learned that during his travels Dampier had tried squid (calamari, if you will) and didn’t much care for it. My, how tastes change…
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Great to see the kids enjoyed the experience. These are the ones to deliver us the paperless classroom