Monday, August 29, 2011

Doors Open - St. John's, Newfoundland

During the annual Doors Open event in St. John's, several venues are open to the public without charge.  When my eldest granddaughter said she wanted to sleep over at my house, I thought it was a great opportunity for us to participate in "Doors Open."

Given that she is three years old, I chose the Railway Museum as the event of the day. We were up early and on Signal Hill with our breakfast in hand at 8 a.m.  We had breakfast high atop the city and she loved it! "I can see everything!"
She wanted to go into the "castle." With a little luck on our side, Cabot Tower opened at 8:30 and we made our way up the tricky, "scary" winding staircase to the top. We were on our way down when a gentleman was heading up to change the flag. He asked us if we would like to go. Of course!  We followed him out onto the deck and he asked my granddaughter if she would like to help raise the flag.
What a special thing to do!  In no time under his tutelage she learned the hand over hand technique and became a real helper. The man was so kind and even carried her down over those darned steps.  We had already started our day with a "bang."

We then, at her behest, had a walk along a trail. After which, we headed to the Railway Museum.  It was not open yet so we sat on a bench beside the display train pictured above. We made up stories and I tried to intertwine a little real history in mine. It never hurts to learn something along the way. Well, from her story, I learned something, too. I surely didn't know that Barbie came from an outport!
In no time the doors to the musuem opened and in we went. She wondered if the manikins might come to life. I told her to use her imagination and maybe she could see the people moving about their activities. We chose to do a walkabout on our own rather than join the tour. After all, she is three. I gave her some info and she was able to ask questions without bothering anyone else. Success! It was a great experience. She wanted to go to another musuem.
We tried the Johnson' Geo Centre back at Signal Hill, but it didn't open until noon. While she suggested that we wait, I talked her into going to another place. Off we went to Commissariat House. I thought she might enjoy seeing the old house. Great choice!

When we arrived, we went to the Carriage House where they gave her a paper printer's hat and helped her put her name on it with sticky letters. Then we went in front of the house and another helper dressed her up in a period dress and hat. It was such a special experience for her. She became demur on the outside and bursting with excitement on the inside. Wow! How many special things could happen in one morning?

We then started our walkabout in the house. In the first room we came upon quills, ink and paper set up for use. A while back when we went for a walk, we found a quill in the trail. I guess I have not totally lost my grounding in education because instead of talking about bird-related stories with the quill, I told her about "back in the day" when people used to write with quills. And now there it was right there for her to try. We worked our way through the house and talked about the feather bed, the wood fired stove and the boot jack which the guide demonstrated. She looked up at me and asked, "Where is the bathroom?" I asked the guide to show her the potty and its holder. Well, of course, a flood of "why" questions followed that led to more discussion about not having running water or electricity.

It was a morning of wonder and excitement. Amid all of the fun, I'm sure there was a great amount of learning. What a wonderful program...."Doors Open." Every one of the employees at every venue was kind, pleasant and helpful. They made the morning extra special. I was surprised that there weren't more people out enjoying these attractions, but then again, we did start our day quite early.

Bravo to "Doors Open." It was a morning to remember!

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