I traveled recently to Chicago and discovered this item of fashion “news”: women in Chicago, apparently, at least on weekends or when traveling, put their short or shoulder-length hair in an uneven ponytail, about the middle of the back of their heads. Women in Massachusetts don't seem to do that. I’m not sure why. That length hair may not be popular in the Boston area at the moment. I think more women would catch the ends of their hair into a kind of almost-bun so they don’t stick out.
On that trip, my family and I visited a town-run park in the suburbs that had a historical farm on the site, with people dressed in 1880s-appropriate clothing, farm animals, and crops. It was just the right size for an afternoon visit, not large—nothing like Olde Sturbridge Village or a real tourist destination—but small enough to interest small children for half an hour looking at the furniture and half an hour looking at the animals, and with a few miles of nature trails.
There probably isn’t all that much real historical interest in a place like that. I was able to show my daughter how people did laundry back then (really, still in my grandmother’s time, well into the twentieth century), and how a pedal-operated sewing machine and organ work. But the point of the house and farm is to illustrate the heritage of the German-speaking people who settled there. The walking trails are marked with information about the environment and about the history of all human settlement in the area, but the point is the region’s German heritage. “Heritage,” itself, seems ambiguous. To people in England, especially, it really signifies something conservative in a way only a member of the Tory Party would probably like. Even a place like Stonehenge can seem quaint and pointless (even twee). In the U.S., it might be somewhat more neutral. It’s easy to mock at the New England town common, with its stereotypical white steepled churches and (often) its expensive shops nearby, but it’s not as if there’s a screaming need to knock down buildings that are at most two hundred years old and still in use, as if it took some ridiculous effort and cost to maintain them, just for tourists. The pleasure in walking around these places might be more “antiquarian” than properly “historical”—and the story they tell might be more than a little incomplete—but it can still be a reasonably good opportunity to teach kids—and older people—about history. And it can still be fun.