I went on the fourth-grade field trip today. Two school buses, 60 kids, a bunch of teachers and chaperones. The trip was to the New Jersey Agricultural Museum at Rutger's Cook College, where they had an exhibit on the Lenni Lenape Indians. The kids got to grind corn with rocks, try to throw sticks through hoops, and go inside a Wigwam. After lunch we wandered around the farm, where the children got to complain loudly about the smell of the pigs and cows. Overall, a good time was had by all.
Of course, it got me thinking back to my own fourth-grade class trip.
Class trips are a big deal when you are in elementary school. My first grade class went to a farm. In second grade our class went to The Old Barracks in Trenton, and the Trenton Museum where we saw the Indian exhibit (probably Lenni Lenape). At the time we lived in the Trenton area, so those things were local. In fact during the summers I would go to different "enrichment" camps for a week or so - and we went to The Old Barracks and the Trenton Museum (to see the Indian exhibit) then too. In third grade our class trip was a picnic. But our family was moving to another town that day and I didn't get to go.
So, fourth grade. New town, new house, new school. I hated everything about it (except for my new friends). (Mind you there was nothing to hate, we were in a nicer house on a nicer street and I was going to a pretty new school). But I wanted to be back "home". As the school year came to an end, I consoled myself that at least this year I wouldn't be going to The Old Barracks and the Trenton Museum (to see the Indian Exhibit) - because it was beginning to feel like the only class trip I ever was on. And that would be one positive thing about moving - I'd get to see something new.
The fateful day came when the teacher announced where we'd be going. "Now class," my teacher said (or something to that effect - it was a long time ago) "since we've been studying New Jersey this year, we have a special treat for you for our class trip. We are going to go to...."
Can you guess it? Of course you can. Say it with me now.
The Old Barracks, and the Trenton Museum (to see the Indian Exhibit).
I think I just put my head down on my desk in ultimate defeat.
It was kind of neat to be in my old stomping ground on the class trip - and I certainly was familiar with the place (I haven't been back since though, I don't think.)
This year the Fifth graders at our school went to the Old Barracks (maybe Pippi will go next year). I don't think the Indian Exhibit is still at the Trenton Museum - it is the only thing I ever saw at that museum.
In other years I did have more varied class trips - in fifth grade we went on an overnight to Washington DC (brave brave teachers, that's all I can say) and in middle school we took some trips to The City to see Broadway shows. But, to this day, when I think of "Class Trip" I automatically think "The Old Barracks and the Trenton Museum (to see the Indian Exhibit)"
PS: "to see the Indian Exhibit " was always tacked on to the end of the Trenton Museum - almost as if it were part of its name.