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Plimoth Plantation

Image: Plimoth 01

A family visit to the USA at Easter '08 gave another chance to explore attractions. We spent a day at Plimoth Plantation to the south east of Boston. It's a reconstruction of the original Mayflower settlers village with actors 'living the life' of the colonists. Part of it is a group of native American houses. They have staff drawn from the Wampanoag people who dress, describe and demonstrate the kind of culture their ancestors would have known. The sign at the entrance was particularly appropriate and an indicator of a community sensitive, responsible approach to tourism

Image: Plimoth 2

The Wampanoag family - the man explaining about the hut (or should that be lodge?) and the woman with her child cooking quayle over a wood fire. She said the habit was not to eat set meals as a family but to eat when each individual felt hungry. Food was always being prepared. So what we consider 'grazing' is not so new.

Image: Plimoth 3

Here's a view down the main street. A wooden fort stands at the top of the village (behind the camera position) with a stockade around it to take the settlers in times of trouble. Wooden houses and fences make up the settlement. Farm animals and crops occupy fields. The man in the picture talked to visitors about the village and what had happened to the Mayflower pilgrims. His knowledge seemed endless and his stories came out naturally and well in character. As his audience was usually uncertain how to carry on a conversation with him his performance tended to be a monologue which could have gone on for ever. As it happened, anyone interested in the story of the Plimoth Plantation would have wanted it to, he was so good.

The strange spelling of the place? Named for the town in England, the village is given different spellings by the same author in the most influential contemporary history of the times.

Image: Plimoth 4

The stockade and fort on the left: the centre top photo shows the church on the ground floor of the fort. A bread oven syands in the open while the sheep graze and the visitors gaze.

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brother and sister living in a small wooden house. Simon was fascinated by the man showing how a steel struck against a flint produced sparks which set fire to tinder. The small home looked pretty complete. Outside was a plot of land where they grew vegetables and corn and raised some animals.

Image: Plimoth 6

A three-dimensional, real world with all five senses engaged beats those new-fangled media (you know, books, TV, virtual reality gizmos) - beats them hollow when it comes to first-hand experiences.

Image: Plimoth 7

At a visitor centre tucked away to one side there are craftspeople making items for use in the museum buildings and educational programmes. It also helps to explain to the public how these goods are made today - often using an old style but with tools giving a more efficient, quality output. The wear and tear on artifacts like these can be much higher.

Here are the potter, upholsterer and basket weaver.

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