History & New York Trip – Charlotte

In the first week of the October half term many History and Drama students set off for a week to Washington DC and New York. We landed in Washington and took a bus to our hotel where we were surrounded by many historical landmarks. From seeing this we were all exited to visit these sights in the upcoming days.

On the first morning we all headed down to the Congress building and had a fascinating tour of some of the grand architecture and rooms inside the building after having some time in the Congress Museum which explains how Washington was built up and how the government is constructed of three branches: the legislative, executive and judicial and how they all form together to run the country. We were shown pictures of the Founding Fathers signing the Declaration of Independence which was painted by the infamous John Trumbull. We also looked at some more recent icons in statue form such as Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks who both strived for civil rights.

In the afternoon we had a tour around Washington and Arlington, where we saw some amazing sights such as the JFK eternal flame in Arlington Cemetery, the memorials of Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln plus the much newer World War Two memorial. The immense Washington monument dominates the skyline and many of the students recognised the lake from the iconic film Forest Gump.

Despite all of this though, we were up bright and early the next day to head out to Mount Vernon where George Washington the first President of America lived. It was so interesting to see the house preserved to how it was in the late 18th century. Although I think that one of the main highlights was going to the National Archives that afternoon and seeing the original Constitution and Declaration of Independence that was signed when America first distanced themselves from Britain and gained their independence. Seeing the actual document was a very surreal moment and one that I think we all greatly appreciated.

Another exciting exhibit that combined many students love for both History and Drama was the Hollywood exhibit in the Smithsonian Museum of American History. This showcased many costumes and props from famous films such as Dorothy’s red shoes from the classic 1939 film, or something more modern like the costumes from the Broadway hit Hamilton, which is a musical about the Founding Fathers of America, focusing in on Alexander Hamilton told through a hip hop influenced sound bringing a modern light to the story- which I know is a favourite show of many on the trip, so this was another memorable moment.

The next day it was off to New York, but not without a stop off in the pioneer town of New Castle where we all got to enjoy the quaint shops and houses before setting off to the city. With more history to come when we visited the iconic Empire State Building. This put into perspective what life was like in the 1930s when the building was reconstructed in the new museum inside the landmark. However, the main event of this was the stunning view of all New York including landmarks such as the Freedom Tower and Central Park. It was a time for us all to really take in our surroundings before heading off on another very busy day. That afternoon took us to the retail delights of 5th Avenue and then Central Park where many noted the plaza hotel from the film Home Alone 2 before taking some free time to enjoy the relaxing nature of Central Park or shopping in some famous stores such as Bloomingdales and Macy’s.

The following day there was a choice to either visit the Statue of Liberty or attend a drama workshop run by professionals from Broadway. This was topped off watching a performance of Aladdin on Broadway. After a very busy schedule students had the opportunity to take in some shopping and the sights of New York.

Overall, it was an absolutely fantastic opportunity and I am very glad that I went. I would like to take this time to thank all the members of staff who helped to organise and run this trip which ran so smoothly. I think that everyone would agree that we had a great time.

Charlotte Kenyon

Year 12 Drama Student