A god for children and war

We had our first experimental family field trip today, and visited Glyptotekets exhibition “Bes. Demon. God – Protector of Egypt”. We ended up at Islands Brygge afterwards to swim, dive and eat our packed lunches.

Bes was the god for childbirth, children, sex, fertility, play and war. An intriguing combination, and also one that makes you wonder what’s left to be a god for.

A cool thing about being with many kids at once is that some very basic truths really get hammered in. The trip went pretty well, but not so well that there was nothing to learn from an educational point of view. Here are some lessons I learned today that can probably be applied to adults and work settings as well:

Make sure everybody knows the schedule. Imagine being a child, and nobody tells you what is going to happen afterwards. Will there be lunch? Are you soon going to play? How long will you be expected to stare at ancient artifacts behind glass? You don’t know if nobody tells you, and you’re too small to have much of a say yourself.

Decide on two or three facts that you want to stick. Everything about ancient history is exciting to me. But I have some general outline I can fit every new fact into. Part of teaching, it seems, is whittling large concepts down to building blocks that can be used to build that kind of outline. If you learn two or three things, you’re way ahead of most.

Make a story. I’m sure a lot of work was put into this exhibition, but to a lay person it still came pretty close to looking like a random collection of very old and weird bric-a-brac. Creating some kind of narrative beforehand would have been a good idea. And quizes and treasure hunts (“find these figurines”, in this case) should be saved for last. Otherwise they become very distracting.

Our first family field trip has now been planned, executed and evaluated. The trip went well, the next one will be even better.

Below, we are doing Bes’ signature facial expression.