Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Living Wax Museum

Now here is an ingenious way to teach kids about major historical figures.

My daughter's class put on a living wax museum last night. The gymnasium was full of fourth graders dressed in different costumes - from Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein to Pocohontas and Anne Frank. They were to stay "frozen" until someone dropped a few coins into a bucket at their feet. This would then bring them to "life" and they would recite a monologue that they prepared.

My daughter decided to be Queen Victoria.

About a month ago, we checked out a book from the library and she started researching. She'd come home and tell me interesting things about Victoria. One day she said, "Mom, did you know Victoria had nine children?" I suddenly looked at Queen Victoria with a whole new respect. I also felt a deep sorrow for the young monarch when my daughter and I realized that she'd only had 20 years of marriage with the love
of her life before he was struck down by typhoid fever.

We decided to watch the recentl
y made movie, The Young Victoria with Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend for additional research. My daughter absolutely loved it, and I'm sure it will become a part of our movie collection in the not to distant future.

The one thing my daughter wasn't crazy about was wearing a dress. She is a tomboy down to her toes. She loves to explore nature and get her hands dirty digging in the dirt or unearthing rocks. She refuses to wear dresses and skirts are a very, very big maybe. So I knew this might be a challenge.

Yet I assured her she would do just fine, that she only had to wear it for 45 minutes. She came into my bedroom Sunday night moaning about having to "wear a dress." I had to tell her that sometimes in life, we have to do things we don't want to. :-)

My mom had a great idea to use an old '80s prom dress as her costume, a
nd I fixed her hair in a cute up-do. I added a fancy Victorian flowered necklace and my daughter was transformed to a young British monarch.
She did great, and so did the other kids. It was fun to see how they put their own personalities into their monologues. Not only did they learn something about an important historical figure, but they also had a chance to practice speaking in public. A win-win situation in my book.
But as I watched my daughter, I felt not only pride, but a bit of sadness, as well. Seeing her in that dress, with her hair all done, and talking so confidently, I realized once more that she's growing into a beautiful young lady. And the next time I see her in that fancy of a dress, it will probably be her prom dress - or maybe not, if the tomboy stuff keeps up!


  1. I love this post, Melissa! It got me a little teary actually. Your daughter looks so very Queen Victoria--I can understand why you are proud!

  2. How fantastic, good for her. History is always more engaging when it comes alive.

  3. That is so neat! That does sound like a great way to get kids into history. Love how her hair is done up!

  4. RT- Aww, thanks! It was a bittersweet night, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. :-)

    Rebecca - I agree!

    DK - I was so excited to do her hair! She never lets me do anything with it. :-)

  5. Oh you choked me up with this one. Boo hoo! SHe is so sweet looking and you are so right. Your time with her will fly and one day you'll take this memory out and smile that she dressed up like she did. What a wonderful way to remmeber historical people:) I almost picked that movie up to watch!

  6. Terri - Oh, you have to watch The Young Victoria. It's so good! And thank you for the lovely complements. :-)

  7. What a cute young queen she makes! What a great idea her class had!

  8. T. Anne - I wish we could have done something like this when I was going to school. :-)

  9. What a great event! And I bet you enjoyed it like few other parents. ;)

  10. Thanks to 'you' and the lovely family you have Melissa, she is blossoming into a lovely, well balanced little lady. What a special family you are :)

    God Save The Queen..!!

  11. Janna - Oh, it was so much fun. :-)

    Thank you, Paddy. :-)

  12. Your daughter looks so beautiful, and so confident! Her hair is gorgeous done up like that, too. It sounds like she did a bang-up job with her research and her presentation.

    What a fabulous idea. We could have had so much fun with this as kids!

  13. Wow, what a great idea. And your lovely daughter looks so grown up!

    Mind you, I'm with her on the whole wearing a dress thing. ;o)

  14. Thank you, Christine! And yes - I would have LOVED this as a kid!

    Shirley - Oh she did look so grown up...made my heart ache. :-)

  15. Anonymous7:25 PM

    I love that idea!


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