homeschool underwater archeology at the US navy museum

us navy museumhomeschool day at the national museum of the US navy
is something all DC metro homeschoolers should check out!
the two hour hands-on program is offered
every second monday from 1 – 3 pm
or thursday from 10 am – noon.

i found the facilitators helpful and enthusiastic
and their history and science-based programing well-planned.
they catered to the wide range of ages usually found in homeschooled families,
and not as an afterthought or thoughtful accommodation.
all age groups from 3 to 16 were prudently engaged.

the younger ones began with a sink or float activity
while the older ones viewed a presentation by and then asked questions of real life underwater archeologists!
we all joined together to do a quick experiment on how acids (lemon juice)
can help remove encrustations from specimens, like a penny.
we then put the penny back in the lemon juice while we did part two of the program.
we later examined the effects of the acid on the penny before we left for the day.

the penny in lemon juice experiment

afterward the (rather large but manageable and well-behaved) group
divided into two smaller groups.
while one examined actual archeological specimens from ancient shipwrecks
in the naval history and heritage command’s underwater archeology lab
with George, another underwater archeologist,

encrusted scissors: the metal was gone, but the void was a perfect scissor mold
ancient buttons from a shipwreck
ancient cannon undergoing slow decrustation process
encrusted anchor in a custom steel container

the other grouped practiced their newly acquired archeologist knowledge and skills
to gently uncover wrecks and diagram their findings.

uncovering an "ancient" ship wreck with fellow budding underwater archeologists

i’m an air force veteran, but on this one i’ve got to give it to them: go, navy!

to think i almost turned around and went home because of a few hassles:

1. in order to drive on the base you have to give them a copy of your registration and insurance and consent to a background check.

2. parking was horrendous.
i might as well have tried parking on the national mall on the 4th of july.
after almost giving into my frustration, i went inside and asked for help at the information/security desk and was much obliged to james, the head of security, for giving me the hook up as well as advice on parking in the parking deck close to the O street entrance when we return.

pssst! i heard that next time they’ll tackle the field of aeronautics.
once again, science is real, baby.

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