How many times have you heard a student say, “History is boring”? Memorizing dates and events can be boring. Experts tell us some effective methods of teaching include compare and contrast, visualization, and making connections with concepts the students already understand. How can you teach history this way? How can we make it exciting? How can we give an accurate account of what went on in the past? We were not there and can only interpret what facts are available whether they were accurate or not.
There is a way and the Cole Land Transportation Museum can provide it! What separates the human species from all others is our ability to make and use tools. Whether it is a stone ax or the space shuttle, tools have enabled man to shape and control their world. By studying these tools you understand how many have progressed through the centuries, met challenges, overcame difficulties, and built their universe. What makes this study exciting is that many of these tools exist today for students to see and touch.
Land transportation and the vehicles employed have had the most profound impact upon the human race. As vehicles progressed, it changed the way people lived, where they lived, how they earned their living, and what they were able to build. Nowhere else in the study of history can you experience first hand the events you are studying. You can go on any back dirt road in a Model T in Maine and instantly be transported back in time to 1920, understand how much more difficult and slower life was back then. Understand why a trip from Bangor to Portland was a major undertaking and compare it with travel today. In seeing what tools Maine people had to work with back then on a first hand basis, children can learn how hard their ancestors worked and marvel at what they accomplished.
Many museums provide a glimpse of this through the display of vehicles, but what makes the Cole Land Transportation Museum unique is that everything on display was either used or produced in Maine. This one of a kind collection allows visitors to experience life as it was in early Maine. By strolling through this world-class museum with our knowledgeable tour guides, your students will see how people plowed the snow, fought fires, planted crops, hauled freight, and harvested the forest. It shows us how our hard working and inventive forefathers met the challenges of the harsh Maine environment and accomplished great things. We have also reproduced the different types of roads then available (dirt, corduroy, cobblestone) to illustrate the fact that to simply travel down any road 100 years ago was an arduous task.
Does this sound like a boring way to study history?