Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Time Travel Tuesday – Plimoth Plantation

A couple of years ago, some friends and I were invited to the Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts to meet with the curator there to discuss a possible exhibit project.  Ultimately the project didn’t come to pass, but the curator was very welcoming, giving us a tour of the museum, and even better, a look at nearby Plimoth Plantation. Heather Rojo’s Recommended Blogs for The New Year list recently reminded me of that visit.

Though I’ve only visited the Plantation a couple of times, I can easily say that it’s one of my favorite spots in the country.  The surroundings quickly transport you back to the year 1627, and the staff, clad in period-clothing, firmly keeps you there by never breaking character.  In fact, the historian in me desperately wanted to ask Governor Bradford about the Indian Wars, but I had to keep reminding myself that, taking place in 1637, the Pequot War hadn’t happened yet.  When asked about Indians by another visitor, the Governor went into a lengthy discussion of his friendship with Massasoit.  At one point the Governor asked where I was from.  “Far north of here,” I said.  “Ah,” he replied, “Massachusetts Bay.”  Being from Vermont, I had to smile.  “Further north,” I said.  Bradford grimaced and said “Near the French colonies?"

Even more fun than interacting with the re-enactors was watching them interact with our host from the Pilgrim Hall Museum.  He knew most of them personally, and they greeted him like an old friend, still staying in character.  It was neat watching two time-periods seamlessly come together while they asked about each other’s families and routines.  My friends and I grinned from ear to ear, experiencing something that the other visitors wouldn’t get to see.

Our main purpose for visiting the Plantation was to take a look at the layout and architecture of the buildings there.  Having been an architectural student, and being of the do-it-yourself persuasion, I was absolutely fascinated with the buildings, gardens, and fortifications.  Though my ancestors wouldn’t come to America until the mid-1630s, I could easily picture how their houses and gardens must have been similar to those in the 1627 village, with thatched roofs and raised vegetable beds.

Visiting the ship, Mayflower II, later in the day, I could imagine Barnabas Davis as he crossed the ocean, not once, but five different times as he did errands for his employers before finally settling in Charlestown.  On one hand, I could see where it wasn’t an easy life.  On the other hand, though, I could see how my ancestors would have lived in a close-knit community, not unlike small-town America today, and how they lived hand-in-hand with their neighbors, enduring their trials and enjoying their triumphs together.

For more photos of my trip to Plymouth, see my Flickr gallery: Plymouth, MA - April 3, 2010

No comments:

Post a Comment