Most museums participate in various outreach programs, which help to promote the museums and educate the public about the missions of these museums. These outreaches can be tailored for the general public, for a specific interest group, or for students. Normally these programs are handled by the marketing or education departments, but sometimes collections staff members are included as well. I was fortunate to be able to participate in a local outreach last week.
May 23 was History Day for many students at the Harry Grove Stadium here in Frederick. This stadium is home to the Frederick Keys baseball team, which is an affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. The Keys’ name is in honor of the man who wrote our national anthem, Francis Scott Key, and who was also from Frederick County, Maryland. On History Day, various local museums and historical societies set up stations in the stadium for school children to visit. Prior to the game, the students visit the stations to learn the answers to questions which have been supplied by their teachers. Even though I know the subject of history can be fascinating, the students seem to have other things on their minds while in the stadium. They race around to find their answers, hoping to still have time left to buy a hot dog, ride the carousel, and try to get some player autographs! We managed to slip in some educational information during the game though! Here, Kyle talks to the crowd about the muskets that Civil War soldiers used. I think his demonstration of firing the musket was more popular with the students! Clara Barton was even on hand to throw out the first pitch. She actually has a pretty decent arm for a lady who’s been around since the Civil War! Kyle wasn’t just firing a musket; he came dressed for the part as well. Our Director, George, was able to tell the spectators a little bit about baseball, coffee, and beer in the Civil War. It appears that Clara Barton is a Red Sox fan. While I suppose it is understandable considering that she grew up in Massachusetts, I’m still not sure she should be allowed to sit with us! The team’s mascot, Keyote, spotted us. I suppose when your group includes people dressed in Civil War clothing, it makes you a little more noticeable! Yes, we won! It appears that everyone had fun, and even learned a little bit of history too! Photos courtesy of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.