Friday, May 22, 2015

A Night at the Museum

Warning:  Some of these photographs of students reenacting events in history might be disturbing to some people.

For the past three years the middle and high school students here on base host an event called "A Night at the Museum".  In lieu of taking an actual final for their history classes, each class must put together and perform a live presentation that they will perform multiple times over a period of 2 hours.  Each presentation is approximately 10 minutes long and there are about 20 different presentations. So despite it being a cool 66 degrees outside and extremely windy, we loaded the kids up in the car and headed over to the high school to see what the classes had put together. 

This year, Alyssa's class presented Auschwitz concentration camp.  We rode along with two Jewish prisoners from the Ghettos onto the trains (a truck pulling a flatbed trailer) until we arrived at the gates of Auschwitz.  Once we got off the trains, we were arranged into lines and divided up.  Those of us who were in the A line (which we were) headed off to the work yard where those sorted into the B line were sent off to the "showers"..  Then after hearing some about life at the camp, we switched and headed to the showers where "gas" was coming from the crack under the door.

Alyssa's roll was that of one of the medical doctors who made sure that we were "healthy" enough for work in the camp. Unfortunately, my camera settings were wrong when I took most of the pics of Auschwitz :( 

Jewish Prisoners being brought to the train by a Nazi soldier
Behind the fences of Auschwitz

 Following Alyssa's class we moved on to a presentation in regards to Nazi Germany where the presentation showed how Jewish people as well as those they felt were Jewish sympathizers were captured, their businesses given to Germans and then executed.

Listening to Nazi Propaganda

 Death seemed to be a huge part of this year's night at the museum and we were once again presented with a macabre display at our next presentation, which was about the Russian Revolution.  This was honestly one of the best presentations of the night for me and dad, we bought found it very interesting. I believe Garrett enjoying it very much as well. (Ashleigh's favorite is the next one) 

We started the Russian Revolution with a student who asked us to wait for a few moments for our guide to arrive.  We all found him to be very enjoyable as he found Russian based puns to tell us "Don't be "russian" off..  I'm just "Stalin"..". Ashleigh asked him questions in regards to his weapon (which is one of the practice riles the JROTC uses) and he allowed her to touch it while we waited.

Once we were on the tennis courts, were were walked through six different scenes of the Russian revolution.   We learned that because of budget and lack of funds, the military often trained with brooms as guns and rocks as grenades.. 

And we learned how Grigori Rasputin basically ran the country while Nicolas II was away by influencing the Emperess, Alexandra.  (Yes, tonight, Rasputin was a female with a very bad beard.. lol)

We observed how bread was being rationed out becuase food was so scares and how it created animosity and fighting between the people of Russia.

We saw the execution of the royal family by the Bolsheviks and an order possibly given by Vladimir Lenin.

Moving on from Russia we decided to hit up the roaring 20's.. There was a demonstration going on in regards to Women's Rights while we waited in line. 

 There was also protestors against segregation on the other side of us.

The wind is starting to get to Ash, as well as the temp.. Her lips are slightly blue.

Finally, we went on a "tour of a grocery store" during the roaring 20's..  Luckily, our guide knew the special word to get us into the run so off to the local SpeakEasy for some Shirley Temples.   The music (Provided by a few players of the high school band) was hopping, the flapper girls were dancing away and we mingled with the likes of George Herman "Babe" Ruth, Charlie Chaplin, Charles Lindbergh, and Amelia Earhart.  But then a teetotaler came in and tried to ruin the party..  She was tossed out but the next thing you know, the club was raided and Al Capone was being arrested.  So we got out of there quick as we could before we were cuffed and booked. 

Our host into the Speak Easy

The Bartender and waitstaff keeping the drinks flowing

Meeting Babe Ruth

Ashleigh speaking with Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart

Gotta watch out for those Teetotalers.

Al Capone being taken away in cuffs

After we made our way out of the Speakeasy without any problems from law enforcement, we decided to hang out in the gym area for a few minutes to allow the kids to warm up and to let Ashleigh finish her Shirley Temple.. I had to wonder if maybe her's wasn't spiked ;)

"Ashleigh, are you drunk? Have you been to that Speakeasy?"

"No Mom, not me.. I was at Bible Study"

Moving on to the 60's we decided to head over and check out Woodstock for a few.. Ashleigh enjoyed watching the hippies and flower children and we got to watch "Jimmy Hendrix" playing the National Anthem as well as watch a protest against the Vietnam war. 

Peaceful Protest

Jimmy Hendrix jamming out the Star Spangled Banner

7PM was coming quick so we headed back to Auschwitz to pick up Alyssa..  All the presentations were shutting down and it was time for the final exhibit to end our night.

It's tiring work to decide who lives and who dies.

The final presentation as the firing of a Trebuchet built by one of the classes.  Alyssa tells me that the kids were building this in the wood shop class.  They had a target set up at the other end of the field and took 6 attempts trying to hit the target. Unfortunately, while they came very close, they missed the target. However, it was still very impressive that they even built this thing, much less had it working for multiple launches.  They celebrated it's success by running down and knocking over the target boxes themselves.

This really was such a wonderful way to look at history.  I think as long as we live on this base, we will be attending Night At the Museum even after Alyssa graduates. It was a lot of fun for the kids and even Charles said he was very impressed with all of it - but his favorites was the Russian Revolution and the Trebuchet.. Ash says her favorite was the Speakeasy (she said she liked the jazz music) and Garrett loved watching the Russian Army training with the brooms.. :)


  1. What a wonderful event! I'd love to attend something like that. Thanks for sharing!

    1. The school on base does it every year as part of their history grade. Instead of an actual final test, this is their final. It's always amazing to see what they come up with and allows parents/siblings to see firsthand what they have been learning.


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