Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Thoughts on History

In my blog entry this morning, I mentioned that I'm going to be talking about the park's history and founding legislation next week to a bunch of high schoolers.

No problem, I know the key dates, names and locations. In fact, I probably know a bit more than I'd really need to talk about.

But putting this history in the context of U.S. history is another thing altogether. I'm attempting to set up a mini-debate (case study?) for the students to learn about a few of the major factors / stakeholder groups that affected Mount Rainier's becoming a National Park.

So for the past few hours, I've been reading up on parts of the Civil War, the California Gold Rush (the Klondike Gold Rush - which weighed heavily in this region - hasn't happened yet for the scene I'm trying to set) and the Oregon Trail.

All in one afternoon? Not even possible.

I've come across a few names I know a bit about: Zebulon Pike, Stephen Long, Rocky Mountain Jim, Dred Scott, John Colter, etc. etc. Off the top of my head I could probably name at least one thing each was famous for. But there is so much more. And some of this is just fascinating.

So, this leads me to the question: Why weren't my history classes in high school and college more interesting? Those classes worked better than Benadryl at putting me to sleep. I was a math and science girl. History and English classes bored me to no end.

Thank God I didn't give up on reading and literature. Jane Austen cracks me up today. And I find myself wanting to study history a bit more now.

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