Wednesday, April 14, 2010
trip to the peniteniary museum
Can You Lock Them Up Please?
Today after our lessons we went on a field trip with two other families in our homeschool group. The field trip was to the penitentiary museum. learned about when the Kingston Pen was built (1833 - 1834) and it's youngest prisioners (a 7 yr old boy and 9 yr old girl). We learned about when P4W was built (1930's) and they mentioned the riot that eventually ended it all (I remember that). We learned about the building the museum is in, how it was once the warden house and that the prisioners built it.
The Kingston Pen has never been added to (that surprised me), although the outside walls have been rebuilt, and the inside re-done. We saw prison and guard uniforms. Weapons the prisoners made inside, including a crossbow, gun and a cannon! We aw how a guy escaped the Milhaven Pen inside of meal trays with the center cut out except the top and bottom. and how he lashed them together. He had to lose about 20 - 30 lbs to fit, and he was taken out with the dirty trays (which were washed off site).
We saw all the terrible punishments The kids were able to get inside two of them. One held you place stockade style with a bucket around your head. Over top was a bucket with a spout that emptied into the one around your head. Another was an upright coffin that they locked people in for 15 min - 9 hrs. We saw a mock up of a current cell and the old ones. There kids also took pictures of themselves in front of cell pars, that were mounted over a mirror so it looked like you were looking at yourself in a cell.
We saw a model of one of The Native healing lodges that our people can go to to heal from the trouble they suffer when they walk a negative path. We saw the hobby crafts the inmates in the prisons have made, including several Native crafts including baby moccasins. We heard music from the old bands they had that had a weekly radio showthrough the local station. We saw them talk about the P4W baseball team that my husband and some others from the Native Friendship Center used to go play against when my husband was in his teens. Mostly we learned how much we value the freedom that we do have.
Tomorrow the kids will be filling out a field trip report. I hope when we talk about it they can see that the history of prisons is not all black and white. I felt some sympathy looking at all that we saw there.
We finished up the day with some playtime at the harb our by the docks, until a city worker thought it was to dangerous for us to have our kids near the water and had us leave the docks (the water was crystal clear, never seen lake Ontario like that) so we continued to the nearby playground, it was a lovely afternoon