Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Third Grade Field Trip

This last month I had the wonderful opportunity to help chaperone the third grade field trip to the Al Thani Museum at Sheikh Faisal's Farm.  It was definitely an interesting experience.  Not many third graders can say they have gone to a museum like this. 

Abbey, Rebecca, and Tameem were my responsibility for the trip.  Mrs. Errico apologized ahead of time, so that tells you what I was in for.  Rebecca and Abbey were easy to manage.  They were thoroughly involved in the assignment and noticing the interesting displays.  Tameem was a different story.  He is a very nice young man, but since his dad is the emir's brother who also runs the museum, he felt very comfortable handling artifacts, venturing into off-limit exhibits, and getting "lost" every three minutes.  He got very tired of the excursion quickly, but I held his attention for awhile by asking him about his family.  He showed me numerous pictures of his dad with the emir, pictures of himself with his father, and the one below with his father (on the left), his brother, and another Qatar dignitary.

Tameem told me that his dad has two wives, and his mother, who is from Saudi Arabia, is the second wife.  He has 19 brothers and sisters between the two wives.  One of the most interesting things he said was that his family has a nice arrangement:  all the females in the family live in one villa, and all the males live in another.  Tameem told me that his father takes turns living in the two villas.  Interesting, huh?

So when I wasn't tracking down Tameem, we got to see the amazing collection at the museum.  There is a fossil room, a document room, a jewelry room, a furniture/weapon wing, and an art/car building.  There are other rooms and wings, but we weren't invited into all of them.  The museum is open at random times, so if you are interested in visiting it, you have to make an appointment, and since they never answer the phone, you either have to know someone who can get you an appointment or just show up and hope the doors are open.  Tameem's mother kindly set up the appointment for all seven third grade classes to attend. 

I wish I could have rubbed a few of these lamps.

This looks like some type of transport for a few of the harem wives maybe.

This weaponry and armour reminded me of Genghis Khan.

Ali Babba and the 40 Thieves checked their weapons at the door!

These trucks were some of the most hilarious items in the museum. 
I really don't know if there are words to describe this kind of artistic talent or this kind of taste in vehicles. 
I wonder what kind of music they play so the kids will come running for the ice cream. 
Tameem tried to tell us that his dad painted one of the trucks and his dad's friend did the other. 
We didn't believe him.

It wouldn't be a Qatari museum without a dhow or two.

Check out this moustache!

Studious Abigail

Here is a traditional bedouin tent with all the comforts of home, especially stuffed falcons.

What else would a hanging rug be for except a spontaneous limbo game for the moms?

Two men pulled a bucket of water from this indoor well.  The kids clapped when it reached the surface, but then when the grate got locked back into place, the well returned to its former use - a despositry for gum wrappers.  Naughty, huh!
This is the door leading into the car/art building.
This photo does not do the intricate carvings justice.  It is beautiful.  So is Abbey!

This female mannequin was an interesting choice for the men's section of the clothing display.
I've never seen an Arabic man with long eyelashes like those.

Another crack-up was the bubble wrap that covered many of the pieces of art on display. 
I guess that sand and dust are pretty insidious.  Either that or they were still unpacking!

After spending most of the morning worrying about Tameem and keeping track of him, I realized that he probably knew the place like the back of his hand, and if any of the kids could get away with breaking something there, it was him.  So I relaxed and tried to enjoy the rest of the sights.  Then I noticed this sign right before we left.  I'm pretty sure none of the kids were guilty of getting too much excess that morning.  Maybe I had an excess of chasing and wrangling, but that goes with the territory of field trips I guess. 


Amy said...

Oh, Dianna. I cannot stand field trips. They are like license for some kids to take complete leave of all sense. Tameen sounds like a couple students I had in the past on field trips. I remember coming home totally exhausted as a teacher. Fortunately, they are great fun for the kids and this one looked really educational.

I also wish my eyelashes were so full and long :)

Jared said...

Wow! These pictures are so cool. This reminds me of an exhibit of Arabic art, culture, and weaponry that came to the BYU Art Museum a couple of years ago. It was one of the most impressive things I have seen.

LoriPhdinme said...

Museums are a shadow box of the echo of history. These artifacts shared a a lovely glimpse from the snippets of their history. Thanks for sharing them with us. What a wonderful experience. You are saint, however, to deal with the difficulties of a a willful child my friend. I would not have had such patience.

Hapi said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

terahreu said...

I loved the trucks, eyelashes, and bubble wrap-all things you rarely see in a museum. I also much comment on the polygamist arrangement. Don't you think the men should be horribly nervous to have so many women together? Seems unconventional for the men and their many wives here.

Oh, and yes, Abby is beautiful!

...and I love the new background!

Amber said...

you are a brave woman! I like your new page design and I like how you picked out the obscure to share...or was EVERYTHING obscure? I mean, that mustache is classic!

Brooke said...

These are the kinds of experiences that make me look forward to raising kids abroad. Great Post!