Bucks County Herald

Mercer Museum exhibit offers time-travel play date



“Centuries of Childhood: An American Story” opens at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown Sept. 16.

The Mercer Museum presents an exhibition for young children that lets them explore American history through the eyes of historical children with diverse cultural backgrounds in “Centuries of Childhood: An American Story.”

The interactive exhibit, created by The Children’s Museum of Cleveland, will open at the Mercer on Saturday, Sept. 16 and remain on view until Sunday, Dec. 31.

In “Centuries of Childhood,” children, ages 2 to 8 can connect their own experiences to the lives of the five historical children featured in the exhibit.

Each historical character has its own distinct play environment based on the time period and location in which he or she lived.

By creating immersive environments with replicas of artifacts, home settings and traditional dress, children and families will feel like they are stepping into another time and place.

The historical characters featured in the exhibit include:

• Onatah, a 7-year-old Iroquois girl, who recounts life in the Great Lakes Region in the 1700s.
• Gregory, at 10, is a Colonial apprentice. He shares his story of working and living away from home.
• Clara, a pioneer girl heads west with her family in 1840.
• Jacob is a Jewish boy living in Cleveland in the late 1800s. He immigrated to America.
• Michael is a mid-20th century African American child moving from the Deep South to Chicago.

As children navigate the different historical settings in “Centuries of Childhood,” they can participate in hands-on activities like preparing food in a Native American long house, setting the table for Shabbat, paddling a canoe, writing a letter just like a colonial apprentice, practicing early trades, constructing a log cabin home, riding a horse and carriage, exploring an immigrant ship, climbing aboard a train, and hopping on a covered wagon.

The Mercer Museum will also host exhibition-related programming that features a free Afterschool Program Series for children in grades K-4 on selected dates that includes stories, songs and visits to the “Centuries of Childhood” exhibit.

Other scheduled exhibit programs are “Sunday Story Sessions,” with children’s librarian Darcy Fair, and “A Child’s Story Program,” that looks at the experiences of a child immigrating to America.

For information, visit mercermuseum.org.

“Centuries of Childhood” is included with museum admission, at $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and $8 for youth ages 6-17. The museum is at 84 S. Pine St., Doylestown. The exhibit is locally sponsored by Visit Bucks County, Marv and Dee Ann Woodall, Brian and Louise McLeod and Tom Thomas.

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