Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cantigny: A Trip Into the Past!

On May Thirteenth the fifth grade classes went on a field trip to Cantigny Park in Wheaton. There we enjoyed three of the main attractions.

The Robert R. McCormick Museum

The Robert R. McCormick Museum is located in the home of Robert R. McCormick (1880-1955). McCormick was the editor and publisher of the Tribune, a Colonel in the First Infantry Division of the U.S. in World War One, and a philanthropist. When he died, McCormick left a will stating that his home should be turned into a museum and a First Infantry Division Museum should be built on his land.  

When we arrived the gardens in front of the house were in bloom and were wonderfully colorful. The inside of the house was equally magnificent and had many items from around the world. Some of these items were obtained by McCormick’s first wife, Amy Irwin Adams. When Mrs. McCormick died in 1939 McCormick married again, this time to Maryland Mathison Hooper. As we toured Robert McCormick’s house we learned about his life. When I talked to some of my classmates they all said that they enjoyed the tour.

The First Infantry Division Museum
The First Infantry Division Museum taught us about the First Infantry, who are also known as the Big Red One because of the red patches on their uniforms bearing a number one. The experience began with the history of the Big Red One. Next, we entered a set of rooms that had been made to look like battlefields, trenches, and barracks. These rooms included interactive features like sound effects in the battlefield rooms, recordings of briefings, a figure of a commanding officer, and telephones that played recordings of reports from the battlefield. In one room that was made to look like a landing craft we watched a film about D-Day. Then we learned about the Vietnam War in a set of rooms including one that was made to look like a Vietnamese jungle. Lastly, we learned about the first woman to die in the First Division, Cheryl LaBeau O’Brien, who was killed in action in Operation Desert Storm.  

 Tank Park

A few minutes before it was time to leave we visited the Tank Park. There we learned about many types of tank. We were allowed to climb the tanks and get on top of them. Everyone had a great time running around climbing on tanks and hanging out with friends. Then, we all had our picture taken in front of a First Division tank. The tanks were all authentic and came from the wars that we learned about in the First Division Museum.

Everyone enjoyed the Cantigny Park field trip very much. In social studies we are currently studying the Civil War. Later, we will study the World Wars. Now, we have lots of knowledge about the war going into the lessons. My favorite part of the trip was touring Robert R. McCormick`’s home. Everything about the trip was great. I hope that the future fifth grade classes will enjoy the trip as much as we did.


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