My So-Called Pilgrim Life

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A chronicle of daily life in the 1627 English village at Plimoth Plantation from both a modern and historical perspective.

The Pilgrim Road Show

October 3rd, 2008 by admin

I am now working as a museum teacher in the Education Department here at Plimoth Plantation. I’ll be away from the 1627 English village until spring of next year. Being in the Ed Dept. means plenty of travel this fall and winter. I’ve already had the pleasure of visiting schools in South Dennis, MA, and Medfield, MA. Both were very enjoyable and successful visits, I think. I notice that there can be a stark contrast between the ways we are able to teach in the Village itself from that of classroom visits.

Sometimes the Village can be a bit overwhelming (and I mean that in a good way) for students and teachers alike. Compared to the classroom it’s a much bigger expanse of space. It’s not difficult at times for folks to undergo a sort of sensory overload with all the sights and sounds and smells of a 17th century village and we do our best to accurately reproduce all of them.. From chickens wandering freely to cows in the pastures and goats on the roof of their barns, it’s easy for children to forget that they’ve come to learn something, in addition to having so much fun. Certainly we want for them to be entertained, but we want to educate them as well.

In the classroom when I arrive, it feels like a palpable sense of anticipation coming from the children. I always get the sense that they really want to be there, and really want me there as well. As we, as museum teachers, weave our stories about the Mayflower voyage, the Pilgrim’s arrival, encounters with Natives, the First Thanksgiving, and acting out daily life, they fall into the spell of actually participating in “the show”. We show them the joys and even sometimes the sorrow of what this brave and disparate bunch went through, coming here to New England.

I’ll be going to New York City soon, and then on to Wisconsin. Some of us will be heading to Utah in December. If you are out there when we get there, be sure to say hello. And if you aren’t a part of those trips, we’d really like to hear from you here. Let’s have a conversation. Is there anything you’d like to know about “behind the scenes” here at Plimoth Plantation? We’ll do our best to respond.


PS Look for the Education Department’s own blog upcoming soon!

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6 Responses to “The Pilgrim Road Show”

  1. Hello-I am very impressed with these blogs-I find them fascinating and informative-I check daily,the blogs
    weave into the fabric of my day-
    Congrats Buddy-to working full time in the education dept-
    It sounds like you are enjoying-and have a captive audience-
    Have you had any stewed pompion lately?I am trying to acquire a taste for the dish-Best regards-Maureen

  2. admin says:

    Thanks Maureen,
    It’s good to see you keeping in touch.

  3. tim says:


    How far have you gone before with Education. When i was doing classes i stadyed in Massachsetts i think lowell and lawance was my farthest I went. thanks tim turner

  4. Kat Zak says:

    Hey Buddy,
    Has anyone read Sarah Vowell’s The Wordy Shipmates yet? I’m sure you’ll be getting questions about it soon! -Kat

    The Wordy Shipmates is New York Times-bestselling author Sarah Vowell’s exploration of the Puritans and their journey to America to become the people of John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill”-a shining example, a “city that cannot be hid.”

    To this day, America views itself as a Puritan nation, but Vowell investigates what that means-and what it should mean. What was this great political enterprise all about? Who were these people who are considered the philosophical, spiritual, and moral ancestors of our nation? What Vowell discovers is something far different from what their uptight shoe-buckles-and-corn reputation might suggest. The people she finds are highly literate, deeply principled, and surprisingly feisty. Their story is filled with pamphlet feuds, witty courtroom dramas, and bloody vengeance. Along the way she asks:

    • Was Massachusetts Bay Colony governor John Winthrop a communitarian, a Christlike Christian, or conformity’s tyrannical enforcer? Answer: Yes!
    • Was Rhode Island’s architect, Roger Williams, America’s founding freak or the father of the First Amendment? Same difference.
    • What does it take to get that jezebel Anne Hutchinson to shut up? A hatchet.
    • What was the Puritans’ pet name for the Pope? The Great Whore of Babylon.

    Sarah Vowell’s special brand of armchair history makes the bizarre and esoteric fascinatingly relevant and fun. She takes us from the modern-day reenactment of an Indian massacre to the Mohegan Sun casino, from old-timey Puritan poetry, where “righteousness” is rhymed with “wilderness,” to a Mayflower-themed waterslide. Throughout, The Wordy Shipmates is rich inhistorical fact, humorous insight, and social commentary by one of America’s most celebrated voices. Thou shalt enjoy it.

  5. Lisa says:


    I have a “behind the scenes” question. How much and what kind of training do interpreters have to go through before they begin to interpret to visitors in the colonial village? I am entering the museum field myself and have some experience with first-person interpretation. I know how difficult it can be, even without learning a new dialect! How long before a brand new interpreter is allowed to interpret in front of the public? Thanks! I’m greatly enjoying getting a behind the scenes look at Plimoth through this blog.


  6. Marilyn Shesko says:

    Since you’re asking for suggestions, I would love to hear about the different kinds of background and experience you look for when hiring interpreters and the training interpreters go through before and after starting work in the village.

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