Me, the Museum and Medieval Times

Before school was out, one late June afternoon I wrote this as my Facebook status:

Am in a school bus with 39 grade 4/5s in Toronto rush hour traffic and it’s 30 some degrees and two plus hours home. Oh did I mention most of the boys bought swords at Medieval Times? My writing friends will understand I’m just callin it research. 🙂

I wasn’t kidding. Getting home from the trip was no picnic. It took just over three hours–an hour longer than it should have. Here’s a shot of the traffic through the front of the bus:

 But it was all worth it because

  • I got to spend time with my youngest daughter and her friends 
  • I love museums, so seeing a couple exhibits at the ROM was fascinating and made me realize I need to bring my kids back for a more in-depth visit
  • I was quite serious about putting the trip down as research. I listened and observed and just absorbed the experience of being in grade four 
  • and Medieval Times was just a lot of fun and made the kids feel like they really were at a king’s tournament. Plus it was air conditioned.

As if that wouldn’t make the day rewarding enough, I had an unexpected bonus.

At the ROM we took part in a special program. We donned cotton gloves so we could carefully handle actual objects from medieval times. ROM staff had grouped objects by theme at each table. My daughter’s table was full so I couldn’t sit with her, but there was a space at a table with a few boys. Turns out this table had a piece of chain mail, a knight’s spur, a rounded ceramic vessel that would have held Greek fire, and an odd tiny square piece of metal with intricate characters on it. Very cool.

I picked up the tiny square and looked at it closely– it looked like it had Arabic lettering on it. The facilitator confirmed that yes, that’s exactly what it was. I was holding an early Arabic coin. Wow! Here is a photo of the square coin. It was wrapped in a protective case.

The coin in its protective case.

This was my unexpected bonus because I’d just received the finished copy of an educational title I worked on for Crabtree Publishing called Arts and Culture in the Early Islamic World. I’d done lots of research but never actually handled something from that era or that part of the world. This makes book number twelve for me.

I was a bit flippant describing the journey on Facebook, but the whole day’s experience is one I count as excellent. More importantly, I think my daughter would count it that way too.

Bonus photos:

The hall at Medieval Times

The stadium at Medieval Times 
Two of the knights–boo! (We were to cheer for the Green Knight)

© Lizann Flatt,
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.
By Lizann Flatt

Author of Flatt-out Fantastic Books for Kids

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