After a 3-year hiatus during COVID, the grounds of Deltaville Maritime Museum and Holly Point Nature Park were once again filled with the sounds of happy Middlesex County Public School first graders on Wednesday May 17, 2023. The children, teachers, and parents were guided through a variety of educational stations around the museum by 40 volunteers from the Kiwanis Club and museum membership.
Patty Larson, who heads up the MCPS first grade teachers, told Vera England and Karen Minter, organizers of the field trip for the museum, that this was their best field trip ever. Children began at the Children’s Garden, where naturalist LuAnn Johnson followed in the footsteps of long time Garden Nerd Becky Ferrell, who started the children’s activities. With assistants Ruth Gibb and Maureen and Paul Fairbrother, she guided them through an exercise in pollination.
At the Pier Walk, Kiwanian Dick Goyne taught children about crabs and museum board member Mike Ballato about oysters, assisted by Kiwanians Emily Davies, Greg Chambers, Robin Atwood and ET Minter.
John England with his Boat Shop crew of Jim Robusto, Gordon Gibb and Carol King demonstrated oyster culling and the work of watermen.
A highlight of the various classes was Jamestown Settlement’s Sam McGowan presenting Native American fishing, planting, and hunting tools from the heritage of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey people. He was assisted by retired Jamestown guide Margaret Montgomery.
Behind the museum, Museum Member Roland Anderson demonstrated patent tonging and the way a marine railway was used as part of Deltaville’s unique heritage.
Founding Member Raynell Smith introduced the adventures of the Explorer, the replica of John Smith’s shallop which traveled the bay in 1608. Children finished their trip in the museum itself, where Karen Minter, Kris DeGraw, Pat Anderson, Elizabeth Coughter, Nancy Quinn, Joye Lynn Burnette and Renee Aldridge and her son Zayden explored with the children everything from boat building tools to the meteor that created the Bay.
As always, a highlight of the field trip was the model boatbuilding. Begun and developed by Chuck McGhinnis in 2005, the activity has been passed on to Marvin Tiller. Tiller, who with the help of Johnnie McQueen, multiyear helper Ray Kostesky, Bob Winslow, Joyce Allen and Mike McClellan, aided children in creating fleets of sailing vessels.
Guides for the children and their parents were Patty Campbell, Sarah McClellan, Cathy Newcomb, Nancy Fisk, and Lynne McMurtrie. Some of the volunteers, like Lynne, have participated for the almost two decades that this field trip has been held at the park. All agree that it is one of their favorite activities at the Deltaville Maritime Museum.