Posted by: daynamcdowell | June 22, 2010

Day 11-Baseball and So Much More!

Sunday, June 13, 2010—Day 11

     The day in Cooperstown consisted of a self-guided tour of the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame, the Fenimore Art Museum, and the Farmer’s Living History Museum. My visit to Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame proved to be more enlightening than I had anticipated (I’m sure several of the men on this trip will find that statement enlightening too, like Mr. Patterson.) The day proved to be one of potential for a variety of teaching lessons. Though I am not a fan of baseball, I did appreciate the exhibits of Pride and Passion and Diamond Dreams. Both showed relevance to teaching social history in regard to civil rights, women’s rights, and economics. “Pride and Passion”, an exhibit dedicated to the African American leagues contained actual artifacts showing the bias and racism toward black baseball players. In particular, hate mail sent to Jackie Robinson clearly showed the heated anger that some Americans had for other Americans and the obstacles which Robinson faced as he pursued his dreams. The “Diamond Dreams” exhibit clearly illustrated the roles of women in the sport of baseball. In fact, the all women’s leagues involved economics just as much, if not more than equal rights for women. For example, the start of the women’s leagues encouraged sponsors to find marketing gimmicks in order to promote their teams. The Harvey Bar was an obvious example of promoting a team in order to make more money and gain more fans. The education lecture also provided another approach to use to hook students into the content area and a particular lesson. In particular, the civil rights lesson based upon Jackie Robinson, the “Dirt on their Skirts” women’s history lesson, and the labor history lesson, “Hard Balls and Handshakes” have potential in making connections with students. Unfortunately, these lessons involve a fee every time they are used and considerable technology that may not be an option in the individual classroom.

     The Fenimore Art Museum also contained some interesting exhibits. Of the exhibits, the Magnum photo exhibit most appealed to me. The black and white photos showed raw emotions from a variety of subjects. The photos which stirred questions within me were the terrorist montage. How did the photographers successfully take these photos and live, or did they? How much hate is inside the terrorists’ hearts to cause them to train for destructive and injurious goals? These are images that could be used in the classroom to spark discussion and critical thinking about toleration at the beginning of a civil rights unit or when teaching about U.S. immigration policies, past and/or present.     

     The quaintness of the Farmers Living History Museum put the Pueblo City Park Happy Land Ranch to shame. The various buildings, such as the barn, blacksmith shop, turkey house, and hopps house, clearly showed farm and village life. Feeding the baby cow, goats, and lambs was a treat as well. From an educational perspective, the farm information would be useful to my students when studying the settlement of the American colonies and the various jobs of colonists.

     Cooperstown proved to be a surprise.  Expecting a day of baseball, the Fenimore Art Museum and the Farmers Living History Museum showed that Cooperstown is a well rounded community with history everywhere!

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