Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ambassador Group Reflections

Group 1: In what seemed like a history deprived summer, three unlikely friends banded together at Morristown National Historical Museum. Their knowledge was varied, but little did they know; their distinctness could help each other learn and broaden their horizons. In addition, with the help of the counselors, these three unlikely friends were taught about important historic theories. One of these theories was the Great Man Theory, which showed how certain characters in history can be viewed as more important than others, despite having inferior accomplishments. One example given was how the role of women in the revolution is often missing from the history books, even though women played a very large role.

Group 2: Upon our entrance into the Archival Ambassadors program we all had a basic knowledge of the American Revolution. Even after just one day we’ve already expanded our knowledge by great lengths. Not only did we learn how to think like a historian using the eight Habits of Mind, but we also had an in-depth lesson on the role of Morristown in the Revolution. However, we still have questions we’d like answered, such as how people besides “the great men” of the period felt and lived during the Revolution, like servants or women. We are also excited to use the resources available to us through the program to finish out project for community day.

Group 3: Our first day in the Archival Ambassadors program was very interesting, despite some scheduling problems and TV malfunctions. Throughout the day, we learned about a wide variety of topics. After getting to know each other a little bit, we toured the Ford Mansion and learned about Washington’s time there. We then learned about the Great Man Theory and other ways to record history, and viewed some archived primary sources. After a movie and discussion about the winter encampment at Jockey Hollow, we had lunch. After lunch, we got into some interesting discussions about how to look at historical documents. We learned how to think like historians using the Habits of Mind. Our discussion about the Declaration of Independence was really interesting. We then broke into groups to look at a few historical documents. They were really hard to read due to elaborate handwriting, and we especially struggled with Darwin’s illegible letter. We’re looking forward to the rest of the week!

Group 4: Our first day was an enriching and enlightening experience. The Ford Mansion was interesting, and the presence of original artifacts was an exciting addition to the historical site. We were exposed to uncomfortable staircases and the GMT (Great Man Theory) and the missing voices of history. We had excessive trouble watching a 20-minute video, but after we actually got to see it, we all enjoyed it. After applying a historian’s Habits of Mind to previously documented and observed pieces, we saw more original papers of Adams, Washington, Hancock, and Darwin. It was awe-inspiring. We can’t wait for the rest of the week.

Group 5: Morristown was important during the Revolutionary War because of Washington using Jacob Ford’s mansion as his winter headquarters. Theodosia Ford gave up the comfort of her home to the patriot cause. She and her five children lived in two small rooms while Washington and over 50 of his companions stationed themselves in the rest of her home. While Washington lived in relative comfort, his troops of soldiers suffered in Jockey Hollow. In the freezing winter, the men had to build themselves log cabins out of the wood of the forest they had to clear. Although we know a good amount of information about the conditions of Washington and his men, we’d like to know more about how the citizens and the Fords felt about the troops being stationed in their town.

Check back later for more reflections!

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