What a great way to finish off a chilly February week than a field trip to the Fort Pitt Museum at The Point State Park. We are so lucky to have had this adventure to the Fort Pitt Museum as it aligned perfectly with our History curriculum, year one from The Good and the Beautiful. Overall, I would give this adventure five stars!
Not only did the Fort Pitt museum provide a great opportunity for hands-on learning, but it also provided and a way for our students to combine their historical knowledge with a local reference point.
I was blown away by how well the Fort Pitt Museum accommodated our group even in these difficult COVID times. We practically had the museum to ourselves and enjoyed a private tour with an excellent guide.
When we called the museum to arrange our field trip, I was pleasantly surprised that they were able to accommodate a group of our size and provide us with a private, guided tour. We were happy to meet downtown, find parking, and enjoy a warm refuge in this cozy museum.
We were first greeted by a large circular diorama of Fort Pitt and The Point area. This map gave our students a bird’s eye view of what Fort Pitt looked like during the mid-1700s. I was enormously proud of our students as they intelligently answered our tour guide’s questions.
After viewing the map, we went into the main floor gallery, where we were able to take in beautiful paintings and have hands-on experiences with a period trading post filled with wool cloth, silk ribbons and other goods that colonists used to trade with the Native Americans for local furs and skins.
We were also treated to an exhibit involving a cannon, barracks, and a tent used at the time. The students found great pleasure seeing if they were tall enough to enlist in the army as they stood next to a measuring stick display.
After viewing all the hands-on exhibits on the main floor, we went upstairs and to watch a video that gave our students an excellent summary of the French and Indian war. After the video overview, our guide took us on an engaging tour of the main gallery.
Not only did our students have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the French and Indian War, but they also viewed many interesting artifacts on display. This allowed them to connect with the history they had learned. Being able to see weaponry, uniforms, kitchenware, and flags original to that period was most engaging.
After our tour of the upstairs gallery, our guide took us downstairs for a fun surprise. This was the highlight of the field trip for me. Our guide called for six volunteers.
It just so happened that six of our older young men were in attendance that day. They all volunteered, and our guide handed out the implements used to clean, load, and fire a cannon in the 1700s.
Our guide explained the process of getting a cannon ready to fire and then our young man had the opportunity to try their hand at the process. They were told that during the 1700s a proficient crew could fire a cannon up to 10 times per minute. They were asked to see if they could measure up.
With everyone’s cellphone cameras rolling and one mom’s phone timer ticking, the boys were given a minute to see how many times they could go through the process of readying and then firing a cannon.
Our commanding officer gave the orders and the other boys worked quickly, responding to his commands. I was surprised that they were successful at the full rotation three times!
What an amazing learning experience!
So Much Fun
At the beginning of the tour, the guide had told us that the men would sleep six to a tent when out of the fort. When we saw the size of the tent, we were suspicious that it could fit six men. Well, since we had six older boys with us, we decided to see how cozy will it be if we put six of our boys in the tent!
It was fun to watch the boys pile in and try to fit in this tent. Let me tell you, those men must have been very cozy sleeping in that tent!
Of course, after the big boys had tried it, all seven of the little kids had to pile in! There was a lot more room with the six- and seven-year-olds in the tent than with a whole group of 12- and 13-year-old boys!
Fort Pitt Museum Adventure
Overall, I would give our Fort Pitt Museum adventure two thumbs up. Although it was very chilly standing outside in our brisk February weather before the doors opened, we had a grand adventure. I would highly recommend this stop if you are in the Pittsburgh area and want an educational field trip.