Sunday, March 15, 2009
These are pictures from George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond, Missouri. My family visited Friday since we were out of school. This is the first time in about five years that I have visited and since the last visit there has been a huge remodel and upgrade of the facility. They have added many interactive places for kids and adults to explore using scientific equipment. The focus of the interactive exhibits is on nature and farming, both of which Carver loved to learn about.
Overall, I felt there were two main points of emphasis that is evidenced at the park. The first is that Carver was a deeply religious man who relied heavily on God to inspire his work. There are numerous quotes by Carver giving God credit for his guidance and it also includes Carver explaining his conversion experience.
The second point of emphasis at the park was with Carver explaining that the most important focus for mankind is to do service for others. He explained that he never patented any of his creations because he did not want the benefits to be felt by only a few people.
Two of the most impressive features of the building are the classroom and the laboratory. The clasroom is set up like a classroom form a one room school house. It includes tables with benches and slates for the students to use. The laboratory contained lab tables and equipment that are obviously used by school children in programs provided at the monument. As a teacher these two rooms are both intriguing and inviting.
Outside the main building is a walking path that takes you through the park. There are four separate areas on the walk that are very interesting. The first is boardwalk over a wetlands area. The boardwalk allows you to cross the stream running through the park and lets you look at the plants and animals present.
The second area is a small pond that has a trail around it. It is a quiet spot that is intended for reflection and perhaps quiet prayer.
The third area is a recreation of the Moses Carver house. There are often reenactors here showing how life was like in the 1850's. I have seen soap making, doll making, and farming demonstrations here during various visits.
The last area is my favorite. It is the Carver family cemetery. When you look at the tombstones and read the dates you will quickly realize that the cemetery is filled with the graves of young children. This is a powerful lesson in how hard life was for children 150 years ago. It is a place to give thanks for the amazing advances in medicine that have taken place since then.
Overall, this park is one of the best, most updated parks my family and I have been to in the last five years. I highly recommend you look up the park if you are in the area.