A Family Visit to the Smithsonian
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After the Visit to the Smithsonian
Gloria's DrawingsGloria's Journal

Gloria liked to draw every night before going to bed.  There was enough time to use her colored pencils and markers to make some great pictures of what she had seen during the day.  She pasted them in her journal. 

Gloria and her mom worked on some journal pages together.  After her day in the Air and Space Museum Gloria wrote, “Amelia Earhart was the first person to try to fly around the equator.”  She drew a picture and her mom wrote this: “This is a rain forest that Amelia Earhart could have seen out her window on her flight around the equator.”

Clyde's JournalClyde's Tour of the Air and Space Museum

If you make some journal pages very soon after you visit the museum, you can still remember everything.  That’s what Clyde thought best about doing a journal.  Before going to bed most nights of his Washington, D.C., visit, he wrote a journal page or two. He cut out pictures of some of the air- and spacecraft he had seen.  Those he pasted onto the pages, adding his own words and memories.  It was almost like being back in the halls and galleries of the National Air and Space Museum.

Clyde wished some of his friends at home could be with him on his Smithsonian visit. He knew just what he would tell them to see and do.  One of the maps available at the information desk became "Clyde’s Air and Space Tour."

Sally's Journal

It was easy for Sally to fill her journal pages.  She wrote some serious things, like a letter to the U.S. Postal Service asking for a postage stamp honoring the great ballerina Margot Fonteyn.  Sally also drew things just for fun, like a dancing mailbox.

Some of Sally’s journal writings could later help her with school assignments.  In the Egypt exhibit at the Natural History Museum she saw and touched a model of the Rosetta Stone. She recorded that it is written in three scripts: “hieroglyphic, demotic, and Greek.”

Practical Ideas for Your Family

If your children will be making journals like the ones featured on this website, you will probably need to set aside specific times during which they will write, draw, paste-up, or otherwise work on them.  Use a few minutes in the car or time waiting for a restaurant meal for this purpose.  The children featured on this website stayed at a hotel during their Washington, D.C., visit and often wrote in their journals before going to bed.

Help the youngest children “write” in their journals by having them dictate to you.  Add these words to their pictures or photos.

Glue sticks are portable, clean, and very lightweight in a bag or pocket.  They are a good choice for pasting materials into a journal.

Plan to visit again, and often. One Washington, D.C., dad brought his preschoolers to the Smithsonian for an hour every Sunday morning, at the 10 a.m. opening time, when parking was plentiful and crowds were scarce.  An hour or forty-five minutes in the museum, plus the drive, was just right.

Revisit the Smithsonian again and again by visiting its many websites.  Start at Smithsonian.org. For quick access to features for children visit SmithsonianEducation.org/students.

Support the Smithsonian by becoming a member.

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