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October 30, 2009

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Peter Culos

I don't know if I was 7, but it had to have been pretty close to that age. It was Gettysburg. My mom was a big history buff and though she died when I was 13, she instilled a love of history in me. I've been to many historic places and museums, but somehow I still find myself in Gettysburg once a year at least. I still find it magical and love the new visitors center. In fact, I'm considering a career change to the Museum Design industry!

Eric Marvin

As a 4th grade student, I took a class field trip to the Meux Home in Fresno, California. That experience was one of the most transformative experiences of my early educational career, as I can recall the docent explaining that the home's furnishings belonged to the original owners and were real artifacts from the past. This reality made history come alive for me and modified my understanding of the past and of historical study. I later worked as a docent at another museum, studied history in college, and became a college professor. Docents can never do too much to emphasize the personal and authentic aspects of history. Thank you for all you do!

Amanda Peacock

I know my museum education began younger than 7, but I most vividly remember my first visit to Colonial Williamsburg around that age. From that moment on I fell in love with the colonial era and the American fight for independence. Countless museum visits and trips to historical sites since then influenced what I wanted to do with my future. Now I'm in college in DC studying history and public history with the hope that one day I can walk through the halls of the NMAH and help a little girl like myself fall in love with American history the same way I did.

Jenny Wei

Thanks for sharing such a great story!
I was wondering about why seven was the magic age, myself. I suppose younger than that, you don't necessarily have a strong sense of your environment and your large-scale chronology hasnt necessarily developed until this point (which is important because museums often present visitors with stories like Abraham Lincoln was born 200 years ago, but his story can teach us things today.).
My main question was why it is less likely to happen when you're older. Any thoughts? Is it becoming more socially aware and realizing that not everyone thinks museums are cool?

Elizabeth Bolton

Museums were regular stops on our family vacations. My most memorable museum moment was getting a special introduction to a Longfellow descendant at Longfellow's house in Cambridge when I visited as a third grader. It always stuck with me so this theory rings true to me - it must be a particularly impressionable age. I've certainly remained a fan of museums to this day.

Eric

I think my experience was simply a love of history and where else but in a museum can you see history? I remember visiting the 45th Infantry Museum (a great little museum) in Oklahoma City a number of times when I was little. But I also remember going from Oklahoma to Oakland in '76 and we visited many museums and national landmarks along the way and THAT'S what probably put me over the top. Since then I've been blessed enough to visit the Smithsonian museums, USHMM, museums at military bases across the U.S. and museums in Europe and in Egypt and museums are to me what candy stores are to kids. Just gimme more! Oh, and a note to whoever: One of the BEST museums in the world (in my humble opinion) is the Deutsches Museum in Munich, GE. I LOVE the mining exhibit there. WOW!

Lisa Wilson

We always teased my father about his 50 cent tours of Washington, DC. One of the few pictures I have of me with his father is in front of your museum. So I can imagine where it came from. But now my brother and I tease each other about our own versions of Dad's 50 cent tours. Mine includes a night time drive by. My brother's has included the botanical gardens. We think because he always enjoyed their trains. I also enjoy featuring the cherry blossoms and the monuments. Now that I drive through and around dc every day it still doesn't get old!

Liam

A trip to Boston at the age of 6, walking along the Freedom Trail and visiting all the historic sites lead me to a love of history (especially Colonial & Revolutionary American history) that I've never lost.

Elise Wei

I'm sure we went to plenty of museums earlier, but what really sticks out in my mind was the trip to Splendid China theme park. Less thrilling than educational, it was a great example of how having history and landmarks physically present before you can make a huge impact. There's nothing like actually being there. The 75 acres with only 1/10 scale structures also impressed upon me just how *much* there was to know.

At the time, I just wished I was riding the teacups, but it really did make an impression.

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