We went to the New York State Museum for school on Friday. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve visited since having children. Enough times that I feel at home when I walk into the lobby. This probably sounds strange but it really isn’t. I still have a pair of wooden painted dinosaur earrings, in blue, from the Dinosaurs Alive! exhibit in 1989. As a Kindergartner I was drawn to the shadowed atmosphere of the museum, where the exhibits seemed to exist free of time, in eternity past. For a child, archaeology is heroic, geology– magic. The suspended bones of a nearly mythical monster are divine. Recreations of centuries and cultures past are portals.
We may not have made it to modern U.S. history in school but my daughters know where they live. I have fostered an appreciation for the spectacular state we call home. New York will always be my home, the place I want to return to. Every hour spent walking the museum, rehearsing history, weaving through eras, teaches my daughters how important the past is. Every child should have a love of their heritage, whether the one they were born into or the one we open up to them. It could be fighting to hold onto the family farm, keeping old mountain paths well-worn or breathing new life into ancient values. These things are pieces of who we are today.