This school teacher is finally on her summer vacation, and to celebrate I am taking a field trip every Friday in the month of July to satisfy my inner history geek. I just came back from my first all-day field trip in the St. Louis area and toured some local sites rich with Civil War connections. Since I’m a very task-oriented individual, sitting on a beach somewhere is not my idea of relaxing…I’ve got to be moving, learning, and doing! Let’s get started on the field trip! 🙂
Missouri Civil War Museum
First stop is to the Missouri Civil War Museum. This excellent museum has only been opened for a few years, but what a treasure it turned out to be! I loved how friendly the staff were, how beautiful the restored 1905 building was, and the focus on the exhibits about Missouri’s history in the Civil War. Perfect for what I have to teach my 4th graders! I bought a DVD about that very topic, as well as a t-shirt to commemorate my visit. Like I said, this museum is relatively new, so they are still working on creating more exhibits. This is one field trip that will definitely deserve a repeat visit!
Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
Just down the road is the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. I can hardly describe the somber, peaceful atmosphere of the place…rows and rows of white headstones some of which dated back all the way to the Civil War. The site has more burials from that conflict than any other place in Missouri, both Union and Confederate. This part of the field trip really gave me pause coming as it was on the day before we celebrated Independence Day. As my mom said, “It’s not all just about the fireworks.”
Ulysses S. Grant National Historical Site
Our final destination in the field trip brought us to White Haven. This was the home of Julia Dent, who would eventually marry General Ulysses S. Grant. At the time of their meeting, Grant was just a young lieutenant stationed at Jefferson Barracks. He had roomed with Julia’s brother and thus began their relationship together through adversity, separations, and war. It really did feel like a haven even as it was located right in the heart of the city.
Stay tuned to see where my next field trip will take me!