British Museum opened in 1759. The original museum was based on the 37,000-piece collection of Sir Hans Sloane, a scientist and physician. The museum grew quickly as Great Britain entered its colonial period. Today the museum’s collection exceeds eight million objects, and over six million visitors enter its doors each year. Some of its acquisitions, for example the Rosetta Stone, have caused controversy. Children can visit the museum website at: British Museum.
Democratic Party used the donkey as its emblem for the first time in 1870. Harper’s Weekly printed an article which included Thomas Nast’s caricature of a donkey. Children can see the cartoon and learn more at: Donkey.
Swan Lake, Tchaikovsky’s ballet, opened in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in 1895. Idea: Children could listen to a portion of the music and perhaps transfer what they hear to art. Children could read Swan Lake, written by Mark Helprin and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg.
Boston Molasses Disaster occurred in 1919. No, this is not a hoax; this was a terrible disaster. On this day in 1919 a huge tank holding about 2,300,000 gallons of molasses ruptured, sending a tsunami of molasses into the streets of the North End part of Boston. Moving at 35 miles per hour, the molasses wave leveled buildings, trapped people, and even hurled a truck into Boston Harbor. About 21 people died, and 150 more were injured. Children could read The Great Molasses Flood by Deborah Kops. They could also watch a very interesting video at: Boston Molasses Disaster.
Super Bowl I was played in 1967. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs. Idea: Sports fans could compile statistics on the various Super Bowl Games. Which team holds the most championships? Which person played in the most games?
Wikipedia was started by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger in 2001. It is supported by a non-profit group, Wikimedia. Today the online encyclopedia has 18 billion articles in 287 languages. Over 70,000 volunteers work to make the articles accurate and current. Children can check out Wikijunior at: Wikijunior.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (born Atlanta, Georgia, 1929; assassinated Memphis, Tennessee, April 4, 1968) was a civil rights leader and a minister. He was an excellent student and skipped two years of high school. He entered Morehouse College at age fifteen. He graduated in 1948 and decided to become a minister. He obtained a divinity degree from Crozer Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in theology from Boston University. In 1954 he became the pastor of a congregation in Montgomery, Alabama. He became active in civil rights in 1955. He urged people to use nonviolent methods to obtain their rights. He was arrested and jailed several times. King and other leaders organized a march to Washington, DC, in 1963. There he gave his famous I Have a Dream speech. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. While supporting a strike of garbagemen in Memphis Tennessee, he was killed by James Earl Ray. Idea: The children could read excerpts from the I Have a Dream speech and illustrate his words. They could also view photos of King at: Martin Luther King.
Bijou Le Tord (born Saint Raphael, France, 1945) writes and illustrates books for children. The illustrations of her 22 books definitely remind the reader of impressionist paintings. Children can wind their way through her website at: Bijou Le Tord.
Philip Livingston (born Albany New York, 1716; died York, Pennsylvania, June 12, 1778) signed the Declaration of Independence. He represented New York. Born into wealth and prestige, he made his own fortune by being a merchant. He became involved in politics and legislation at a variety of levels, including the Continental Congress. During the Revolutionary War, he actively raised funds for the troops. He died in York when the Continental Congress was in session there. Children could learn more at: Phillip Livingston.
Edward Teller (born Budapest, Hungary, 1908; died Stanford, California, September 9, 2003) was a renowned physicist. He is known as the father of the hydrogen bomb.