Sunday, January 31, 2010

National Museum

This weekend has been full of delightful experiences. I could really drag the content out for about a week. Maybe I will, come to think of it... Anyway, the first round of coolness came as a follow-on to last week's activity box on Athena. Since one of the things that appeals to me about Lebanon is the antiquities, it was off to the national museum for some edutainment.

Before we left, I decided to put together a scavenger hunt type sheet of pictures pulled from the museum's website. This turned out to be one of those 10-minute tasks that accidentally creates a great idea (if I do say so myself). I've tried keeping 4-6 year olds focused on archaeology before. It tended to last about 40 seconds per concept. In this case, we had a great time moving from one image to the next. Before we knew it, we had been through two hours of museum time. I'm definitely doing that again!

Because the Phoenicians came up with the alphabet, the museum has a some beautiful material on the transition from cuneiform, hieroglyphs, pseudo-hieroglyphs and eventually the alphabet. The side of this sarcophagus has an excellent representation of this.

I was very impressed that Star noticed the re-use and transition of symbols between these systems all on her own. In particular she noticed how the eye symbol evolved along in each writing system. there is an abundance of material in this area, but as there was no flash photography, getting pictures of items inside the cases was very difficult.

Eventually, we were able to find everything on our lists except for two pieces. Star decided to ask a guard to help us, and he did a wonderful job. He really went out of his way to help us locate our missing items. One thing that threw us off, was that one of the images on the museum website is actually upside down. The staff was able to find it for us though. Here is the offender:

With one last piece to go, we were resolved to give up with a miss. I tried to interest Star in one of the other excellent pieces, but failed to factor in the universal truth that boys are icky. In hindsight, I think both kids were getting a bit tired.

As we were leaving, the guard came back to us, and told us he had found our last piece! It is a lovely Venus statuette.


  1. How exciting. I really wish I had been there to enjoy it too. 1433

  2. Matt, that's a great idea and sounds like the everyone had fun including the guard! ~ Amelia

  3. Wow! How awesome. John being an Egyptologist, we all love antiquities and museums especially. How lucky your children are! Can't wait to see what their amazing experience there will yield in their lives. You are a wonderful father! (and that's a great idea, mind if I steal it?)

  4. So cool! I can't believe the girls lasted that long! Derek loves going to museums to find original artwork from his favorite artists, but I have a harder time lasting, I get so exhausted by all there is to see, I need to break museum tours up into smaller chunks. What a great idea to make it a treasure hunt!

  5. Maybe I would last that long in a museum if you put one together for me, too...