Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum

While looking for a good place to have a picnic me, Tristan & Brennan stumbled upon our most favorite park and museum thus far: Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum.  I have always wanted to be an archaeologist and I don't know how the awesomeness of this nearby park somehow escaped my knowledge for so long.  Mostly, it's the website's fault.  I explore in 3 phases.  Phase One: google & flickr.  Phase Two: go with as few people as possible for a preliminary check.  Phase Three: judgment, which can lead to more visits or NOTHING!  Bewaaaare, parks.  You better impress me.

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Right when we walked in there was a room packed from floor to ceiling with little projects... touchable ones.  Everything was tucked away in labeled drawers so it was relatively easy for me to wrestle my two non-readers away from the mammoth jawbone and antler on display.

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The hallway had a ginormous map to illustrate important dig sites and an hourglass that shifted with a mighty roar and showed a few important milestones and how they had aged over time... and how we spot them from up top.

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The next room was 3D and completely interactive.  You could touch it all: open drawers, do experiments, reassemble a vase on a vacuum table (loud, but awesome), feel the fake grass and dirt, weigh samples.  The displays were mostly about preservation and the importance of using different methods for preserving varying materials.

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My absolute favorite part was the chest of drawers for Maryland.  Each county has its own drawer with a sampling of archaeological findings.  We found our county and checked out the rest of Southern Maryland (as well as the coastal counties, which were fascinating).

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As luck would have it, there were picnic tables outside so we stopped for a bite.  I surveyed the area and we made a plan to check out the barn exhibit before heading to the real Indian Village they had set up along the trail.

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The exhibit running right now is FARMERS, PATRIOTS and TRAITORS: Southern Maryland and the War of 1812.  We didn't see all of it because Brennan suddenly had to pee... even though not 5 minutes before that I asked if anyone needed to go potty.  Sigh... but, we also didn't have a whole lot of time before we had to head back and catch Noah off the bus.

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After the potty break we headed for the Indian Village.  There were informative signs all along the way describing what the area was previously used for and how the passage of time (and people) had affected its existence.  We knew we had arrived when we saw a perimeter fence built out of sticks.

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The huts themselves were all a little different, even in their construction.  They were as accurate as can be... and you can be IN them.  The kids were allowed to touch every tiny detail, including the pile of bones and oysters by the fire and the deer pelt drying in the hut.  Tristan was especially enthralled with all of this and found his own treasure.

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We had to head back home after the village, but we are coming back here guaranteed.  We saw a mere fraction of what this place has to offer and we're already in love.  Noah and Josh still need to experience it for themselves.  Now f the weather would just clear up!!
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