The USS Constitution Museum, open now, in Charlestown, MA, is a fascinating place to visit, but if you cannot be there, the museum’s blog is packed with fun stories for all ages.
For instance, “A Sailor’s Life, Live!” series of videos tells all about the life of a sailor before the mast in the wind-powered days on the sea. Each episode is co-hosted by a Constitution crew member live from the ship.
Each week’s lesson includes a video, and activity, like using signal flags. Great fun for imaginative kids (even without the pirates).
Here are some of the topics covered in the weekly videos:
Back to School with Midshipmen – The USS Constitution‘s midshipmen were teenagers preparing to serve as officers. With navigational tools
Day in the Life of a Boy – The youngest sailors – boys – had to scrub the deck, grab powder, and pass messages. Play Scrub the Decks and Powder Run mini-game,
Sailor Health & Medicine — From a bone saw to “biting the bullet,” this episodes describes health care on USS Constitution. Read the “Consigned to a Seaman’s Grave” blog post
USS Constitution‘s Firepower — Learn all about the ship’s firepower. Could you qualify for the gun crew? Make and fire your own cannon.
Animals on USS Constitution — Animals–both real, and used in ship jargon–always lived among the sailors on USS Constitution. Meet a terrier who had specific and important duties on Old Ironside. Play Rats in the Hold mini game.
Sailor Food and Meals – How would you like to live for six months or longer of ship’s biscuit and dandyfunk? Ooof! Cook a ship’s biscuit. Cook dandyfunk. Cook switchel and hot chocolate.
Communication at Sea — Without electronic communications, how did sailors communicate with other ships? Here’s you chance to learn about signal flags.
Images courtesy of USS Constitution Museum Collection. © Stephen Biesty, 2010