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walk this way into the past

There are many things that I love about life learning–one is the fact that almost everyday I (yes, I said “I”) get to learn new exciting stuff alongside my kid. Today was one of those days. Aidan and I signed up for a homeschool program at a local historical museum. The museum is the Joliet Historical Museum, and Aidan just loves the place. Despite it being a very small museum they have quite a few good educational programs on a variety of subjects such as prairie life, Native Americans, space and the solar system, Route 66 history, etc.

Today’s program was an architectural walking tour of downtown Joliet. For anyone who hasn’t been to Joliet, the downtown area is rich in architectural designs and history, and I was excited to learn more about it. We learned about Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett and their contributions to the 1893’s World’s Columbian Exposition, the 1909 Plan of Chicago, and the 1921 Plan of Joliet. After learning about the two architects we explored various architecture found in the city of Joliet, starting with the examination of the museum itself, which used to be an old church (built in 1909) until 2002 when it was renovated into the now existing historical museum. We then moved on to a walking tour of a number of buildings throughout the city. It was fascinating to learn about the different designs used in the various buildings (and I learned (or relearned) many architectural terms, such as neo-classical, dentils, pediments, egg & dart, etc.). And I loved really looking at the buildings; really seeing them–identifying the original structure, noting the sometimes obvious and other times almost nontransparent changes/additions that have been added. As I walked through the city I was taken back by the history of the place and the wonderment of the stories these buildings hold within their walls. It was a good day filled with fun and learning and inquiry–I guess that’s what life is all about.

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