This March Break, we were enjoying a pretty awesome ‘staycation’ at home in Kingston. We had company with us – all the more reason to explore the unique sites Kingston has to offer. One of the great opportunities to see more of them – for free! – was the March Of Museums hosted by the Military Communications And Electronics Museum over in the East End on the Canadian Forces Base.
As we had 5 young children with us (between the ages of 4 and 11), of course we were right away drawn into the room with all the activities designed especially for this occasion. A group of volunteers – in uniform and civilian – greeted us enthusiastically and all the kids were quickly thoroughly immersed in learning about Kingston’s military history, past and present. The attraction that jumped at us immediately was learning to message our names in Morse Code. We were assisted by a ‘cheat sheet’ and a friendly volunteer – we quickly had it down! There was also a neat craft where the children could design a bracelet with their names in the morse alphabet.
Next up was a craft station set-up to represent the Martello Towers in Kingston. While the kids were making their own Murney Towers out of styrofoam cups and muffin liners, the adults learned about the history of the martello towers in Kingston. I had not realized families had actually lived in the lower floors of the tower at one point! Not being a native Kingstonian, it was a lot of new and interesting local history and our out-of-town guest from the US found it compelling to look at the shared history from a Canadian point of view.
There were also dress-up opportunities that were explored and enjoyed thoroughly.
Last but not least – and for our party certainly the biggest attraction – were the Snap Circuits sets. It was so much fun building the various set-ups with instructions provided. But most of all it was awesome to be building together with the volunteers who really enjoyed working together with the kids. I’m tempted to say that it wasn’t quite clear who had the most fun – them or the kids. Even the youngest participant at only 4 years old was able to put together simple circuits with their help.
After all of these activities we only briefly toured the actual exhibits, but admittedly were not able to pay the attention they deserve. Karen, the Museum Manager, was on hand throughout to provide more detailed information and happily answered questions that we had. The children particularly enjoyed the displays of communications devices of various periods. To them, the typewriter seemed ancient! We will certainly be back to take a more in-depth look at these exhibits as just taking a quick glimpse certainly didn’t do them justice.